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## Cooperative Learning

Cooperative learning involves having students work in groups or in a group setting. Instead of the traditional teaching style, students interact with each other and build their school relationships. The week 4 class lecture states, “Cooperative learning teaches students to be a functional member of a team, with not only individual, but also group, responsibilities” (Week 4, 2005). This is an important learning style to incorporate into lessons because it builds communication skills in the classroom. These skills will become the foundation of your adult relationships. To better understand cooperative learning, it is necessary to explore the main theorists and foundations of this subject.

Because of the Internet and the vast majority of sites on this topic, teachers can implement this information in their classroom quickly. When you go to Google and type in “Cooperative Lesson,” 826,049 sites come up. The main idea of the top 10 most popular sites are “What is cooperative learning” and “How can teachers implement it in the classroom”. The most valuable site you will find on this topic is http://edtech.kennesaw.edu/intech/cooperativelearning.htm. This site is titled “Cooperative Learning” and has a dozen links that will help a teacher understand this style. The consensus of this site affirms cooperative learning.

It is a successful teaching strategy in which small teams, each with students of different ability levels, use different learning activities to improve understanding of a subject. Each member of a team is responsible not only for learning what is taught, but also for helping colleagues learn, thus creating an atmosphere of success. Students work on the task until all group members understand and successfully complete it (Cooperative Learning, 2005).

Learning to use cooperative learning in the classroom is essential for teachers because of the communication and social relationships they can develop with students. This communication and social relations are best understood by comparing and contrasting the main theorists of cooperative learning.

In Johnson’s models, Johnson and Holubec explain, “the five advantages of cooperative learning are intertwined in five basic principles: 1) positive interdependence, 2) simultaneous interaction, 3) individual responsibility, 4) interpersonal learning skills and in small groups. , and 5) reflection and planning” (University of Phoenix, 2002). These five basic principles appear to be the basis of cooperative learning. These theorists understood that children must learn to work together and getting to know each other in a non-competitive environment. Some of the interesting facts about these theorists are the “sink or swim” philosophy, the idea of mutual goals, and assigned roles (Principles of Cooperative Learning, 2005). Johnson , Johnson and Holubec seem to have understood the updated version of cooperative learning in the classroom.Their methods and ideas are more conservative than the other theorists and tend to be more accessible to teachers.

The approach of Dr. Robert Slavin for cooperative learning is based more on serving the individual needs of students. Developed the Student Teams and Achievement Division, STAD. His theory was also based on 5 different ideas like Johnson, Johnson and Holubec. The five components are class presentation, teams, quizzes, individual improvement scores, and team recognition (Cooperative Learning in New Direction, 2005). The difference between Slavic’s previous theory and the theorists present before him is his concern about the lack of experience that teachers have in this subject and how the subject might not meet all expectations. This theorist strongly believed that high-risk students and special education students would benefit most from cooperative learning (Dr. Robert Slavin on Cooperative Learning, 2005). In reality, this man’s theory was well founded, but his lack of experience in today’s needs somewhat discredits his thinking. In the reading it seems that this doctor presented the lack of vision of a world where the teachers are highly educated and there is a melting pot of students in the classroom, which is the big difference between the theorists.

Dr. Spencer Kagan has

Two important points must be made: (1) The world is not only competitive, and in some important respects it is becoming less so; (2) I am not advocating the exclusive use of cooperative learning methods, but rather a healthy balance of cooperative, competitive, and individualistic classroom structures to prepare students for the full range of social situations (Ten Frequent Questions, 2005) .

When reading about this theory, a more liberal view of cooperative learning comes to mind. When trying to find a specific amount of steps of this theorist, it is impossible because there are too many to count or write in one article. Basically, this style focuses on “stressing positive interpersonal relationships among peers, equality, self-esteem, and achievement.” With these different concepts, different objectives emerge such as, “building team spirit and positive relationships between students; exchange of information; critical thinking; communication skills; and mastery (learning/recall) of specified material” (Spencer Kagan’s Positive Learning Structure, 2005). Unlike the simple 5 steps of the latest theorists, a teacher should gather information based on his students. The teacher should explore many different clues and use the information to her best judgment.

In conclusion, Johnson, Johnson, and Holubec have laid the groundwork for cooperative learning in the classroom. His theory is easy to understand and can be easily implemented in the classroom. In general, cooperative learning is important because it links communication with social skills, which every student needs to develop. It is easy to compare and contrast different theorists because each has a different idea of what cooperative learning really is. The Cooperative Learning Style has been developed and reworked by many theorists; it just depends on the teacher’s learning style to determine the best approach to this method.

Reference:

Cooperative Learning. (2005). Retrieved May 31 from [http://edtech.kennesaw.edu/intech/cooperativelearning.htm#activities] .

Cooperative learning a new direction. (2005). Retrieved May 31 from [http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3673/is_199610/ai_n8745987#continue] .

Dr. Robert Slavin on cooperative learning. (2005). Retrieved June 5 from http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/content/cntareas/math/slavintrns.htm.

Principles of cooperative learning. (2005). Retrieved May 29 http://www.csudh.edu/dearhabermas/cooplrn.htm.

Spencer Kagan’s Positive Learning Structure. (2005). Retrieved June 6 from http://www.jalt.org/pansig/PGL2/HTML/Nakagawa.htm.

Ten frequently asked questions. (2005) Retrieved June 5 from [http://courseweb.tac.unt.edu/overall/CECS4100/Resources/CoopLearn/10Questions.html] .

Conference week 4. (2005). Mat 532 Week 4 Lecture. Shannon Miller.

University of Phoenix (Ed.). (2001). Curricular constructions and assessment: science and mathematics.. [University of Phoenix Custom Edition e-text]. Boston, MA: Pearson Custom Publishing.

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