Cooperative Learning: The Success Of Cooperative Learning

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Introduction
Cooperative learning is the concept of grouping and pairing students to achieve academic goals, but it is much more than that. To first understand what cooperative learning is, it must be understood by what it is as well as what it is not. True cooperative learning is not only pairing and sharing. It is the collaboration of all members of a group that fosters a better understanding of materials and/or skills by each member of the pair or group. In other words, it is not just more than one or two people explaining a concept to one or more other people. It is certainly not just a group doing their own work and occasionally talking about answers together. Its success can be measured by different factors however. On one hand,
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A new way of determining the success of cooperative learning that included students working together out of the classroom was tested. That new way showed that students improved over time. Students were shown to gradually increase in ability to the point of outperformance of students studying individually across the period of an entire course (Weimer). One particular Johnson and Johnson study looked at how teachers structure student to student interaction. It proved that the interaction had an impact on how well the students felt about the teacher and each other (Johnson et al). It is based on the rarity of student cooperation celebrating each other’s success rather than the traditional, competitive measure of an individual’s performance. Success is not only measured by an individual’s performance within a cooperative learning group. The interdependence of a group to reach a certain goal can also be seen as success. Simply learning how to work with others to problem-solve has actual real world application outside of the classroom. Group size is a factor of successful cooperative learning also. If there is a smaller amount of time, a smaller group seems to work better. More students in a single group requires more time for the varying opinions to be voiced and a single decision made. Groups seem to work better when the members are heterogeneous as …show more content…
While I agree that the cooperative group does not take the place of instruction (Johnson et al), it appeals to me on several levels. Like many contemporary educators, I deal with socioeconomic and intellectually diverse students in my classes and am pleased to learn that heterogeneous grouping can actually improve success both in the classroom and in the real world. I must confess that it almost seems natural to me as a proud product of public education. My parents always instilled in me an appreciation for diversity and, as research shows, they were correct. Personally, I do feel the need for more training on the “how-to” of cooperative learning. My research shows, it is much more than changing a seating arrangement and putting a group together to complete an assignment. It is the process of changing the way in which students interact with each other as they learn (Walters). Cooperative Learning translates instruction and makes is more useful (Johnson). Just like my parents always told me, education should be more about making all of us successful instead of a competition to set us farther

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