A Teacher Fosters Social Competence with Cooperative Learning

1601 Words Jul 25th, 2013 7 Pages
Stacey Magnesio and Barbara Davis
Copied with permission from Childhood Education, Summer 2010.
Stacey Magnesio and
Barbara H. Davis
Stacey Magnesio is a 4th-grade teacher, Hays CISD, Kyle, Texas.
Barbara H. Davis is Professor,
Curriculum & Instruction, Texas
State University, San Marcos.

To cite this article: Magnesio, S. & B. Davis. A Teacher Fosters Social Competence With Cooperative Learning. San Clemente, CA: Kagan Publishing. Kagan Online Magazine, Fall/Winter 2010. www.KaganOnline.com

Miss Mag, do we have to work in groups?” “Miss Mag, I can’t work with him.” “Miss Mag, can I work alone?” Dodgeball tactics—duck, dart, and flee—seemed to be the game plan in my classroom whenever I wanted my students to work in groups.
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As Kagan and Kagan (2009) point out, “We live in an interdependent world in which, somewhat paradoxically, the ability to compete depends on the ability to cooperate” (p. 1.18).

Several prominent researchers have developed various models of cooperative learning. For example, two brothers, David and Roger Johnson, created the Learning Together and Student Controversy models (Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec, 2002); Robert Slavin (1996) developed the Jigsaw II and Student Teams-Achievement Division models; and Spencer Kagan (1994) developed the Structural Approach to cooperative learning. Although different, these models each contain four defining elements of effective group interactions: 1) positive interdependence, 2) individual accountability, 3) equal participation, and 4) simultaneous interaction. Johnson, Johnson, and Holubec (2002) include a fifth element—group processing.

Numerous practitioner studies have examined the impact of cooperative learning on student achievement and social skills development. For example, Nesbit and Rogers (1997) describe the benefits of integrating cooperative learning with science, reading, and writing instruction. Using several of the different cooperative learning models, the authors found that each method was successful in helping students work together in science to solve problems while using the tools of reading and writing. They suggested, however, that teachers begin with the Kagan structural approach before attempting

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