Cooperative Learning Essay

1165 Words 5 Pages
In the last couple of decades there has been an increasing awareness of and focus on co-operative learning in classrooms, this focus has had both positive and negative effects on the students involved in it. Co-operative learning is a technique that involves students forming small groups and working together towards a common goal e.g. completing a specific task (Bainbridge, C. 2010). Co-operative learning is a social issue because it has a very different effect on gifted and high achieving students, than it does on lower and middle achieving students, and a lot of teachers do not realize this when they include co-operative learning in their teaching.
I decided to investigate co-operative learning (CL) for two main reasons, firstly because
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The second reason was because out of my first three assignments this year, two of them were group tasks, and I was curious as to why that might be, what skills were we developing? And what skills are we trying to teach our future students when we use CL or group tasks. Therefore it made sense to choose this as a topic of interest for me.

There is obviously not a set date for when CL was first developed but Johnson and Johnson believe that the idea of CL is very old, linking it to the Hebrew Talmud and the Roman Philosopher Seneca, who ‘advocated cooperative learning through statements such as, "Qui Docet Discet" (when you teach, you learn twice)’(Johnson and Johnson, retrieved 2010). Cooperative learning can also be traced to Joseph Lancaster and Andrew Bell in the 1700s and through quite a few different ventures in America such as the Common School Movement in the 1800s, and to philosophers like John Dewey, Vygotsky, Piaget and Lewin in the early 1900s. Between 1930 and 1960 the focus shifted to ‘interpersonal competition’ and ‘individualistic learning’ (Johnson and Johnson, n.d), but returned to CL around 1980.

When teaching CL there are five essential elements that students need to learn to work cohesively as a group, these are Positive Interdependence or making sure that

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