Sherman (1991) makes the observation, “Most social psychology text books contain
considerable discussions about conflict and its resolution and/or reduction.
Almost all introductory educational psychology text books now contain extended discussions of
effective pedagogies for improving racial relations, self-esteem, internal locus of control and
academic achievement (Messick & Mackie, 1989).
Cooperative learning fosters student interaction at all levels (Webb 1982).
Research has shown that when students of high ability work with students of lower ability, the
former benefit by explaining or demonstrating and the latter benefit by seeing an approach to
problem solving modelled by a peer (Johnson & Johnson 1985, Swing, Peterson 1982; Hooper
& Hannafin, 1988). Warm-up and group building activities help students to understand their
differences and to learn how to capitalize on them rather than use them as a basis for
CL helps majority and minority populations in a class learn to work with each other (Felder
1997, Johnson & Johnson 1972, Slavin 1980). Because students are actively involved in
exploring issues and interacting with each other on a regular basis in a guided fashion, they
are able to understand their differences and learn how to resolve social problems which may
arise (Johnson & Johnson 1985). Training students in conflict resolution in a major component
of learning training (Aronson 1978; Slavin 1987).
CL establishes an atmosphere of cooperation and helping school-wide (Deutsch 1975). CL
focuses attention on the accomplishments of the group as well as the individual. Teamwork is
the modus operandi and inter-group cooperation is encouraged. Even when group competitions
are used (Slavin 1987), the intent is to create a positive helping environment for all
participants. In CL environments, students are taught how to criticize ideas, not people
(Johnson, Johnson & Holubec 1984). A function of cooperative learning is to help students
resolve differences amicably. They need to be taught how to challenge ideas and advocate for
their positions without personalizing their statements. In cooperative classes, students may be
assigned roles in order too build interdependence within the groups. These roles often model
societal and work related roles which students will encounter in real life. Adult motivational
theory has shown that the direct applicability of classroom small group problem-solving to
students’ lives will enhance motivation to learn (Wlodowski 1985).
Cooperative learning is particularly effective at increasing the leadership skills of female
students and for getting male students used to turning to women for help in pressure
situations ( Bean 1996). This benefit is especially important in mathematics classes where men
generally dominate class discussions and presentations. The Johnson (1990, p121) point out
that, “Students tend to like and enjoy math more and be more intrinsically motivated to learn
more about it continually”. CL also helps to develop learning communities within classes and
institutions (Tinto 1997). Community colleges an many four-years colleges are primarily
commuter schools. Students do not remain on campus for extracurricular or social activities.
Many students have jobs and/or family pressures which also limit their ability to participate in
campus life. Thus it falls to the classroom teacher to create an atmosphere of community
within the college. The previous discussion of the social benefits of CL make it clear that
creating a community of learners is easily accomplished using CL techniques. There is a
significant benefit to CL which is not always apparent because it takes place outside of the
classroom. If groups operate long enough during a course, the people in term will get to know
each other and extend their activities outside of class. Students will exchange phone numbers
and contact each other to get help with questions or problems they are having, and they will
often sign up together for classes in later terms and seek out teachers who use CL methods
(Bean, 1996; Felder, 1997).
Engendering competence: creating an understanding that learners are effective in
learning something they value
CL develops higher level thinking skills (Webb 1982). Students are engaged in the learning
process instead of passively listening to the teacher. Pairs of students (followed by threesomes
and larger groups) working together represent the most effective form of interaction
(Schwartz, Black, Strange 1991). When students work in pairs one person is listening while the
other partner is discussing the question under investigation. Both are developing valuable
problem solving skills by formulating their ideas, discussing them, receiving immediate
feedback and responding to questions and comments (Johnson, D.W. 1971; Peterson & Swing
This aspect of cooperative learning does not preclude whole class discussion. In fact whole
class discussion is enhanced by having students think out and discuss ideas thoroughly before
the entire class discusses an idea or concept. In addition, the teacher may temporarily join a
group’s discussion to question ideas or statements made by group members or to clarify
concepts or questions raised by students.
Cooperative learning fosters higher levels of performance (Bligh 1972). Critical thinking skills
increase and retention of information and interest in the subject matter improve (Kulik &
Kulick 1979). This creates a positive cycle of good performance building higher self esteem
which in turn leads to more interest in the subject and better performance (Keller, 1983).
Students share their success with their groups, thus enhancing both the individual’s and the
group’s self esteem.
Skill building and practice can be enhanced and made less tedious through CL activities used
both in and out of class (Tannenberg 1995). In order to develop critical thinking skills,
students need a base of information to work from.
Acquiring this base often requires some degree of repetition and memory work. When this is
accomplished individually the process can be tedious, boring or overwhelming. When students
work together the learning process becomes interesting and fun despite the repetitive nature
of the learning process. Male (1990) for example, has documented the positive impact of CL in
drill-and-practice computer use.
CL Develops students’ oral communication skills (Yager, Johnson and Johnson 1985). When
students are working in pairs one partner verbalizes his/her idea while the other listens, asks
questions or comments upon what she/he has heard.
Clarification and explanation of one’s ideas is a very important part of the cooperative process
and requires higher order thinking skills (Johnson, Johnson, Roy, Zaidman 1985). Students
who tutor each other must develop a clear idea of the concept they are presenting and orally
communicate it to their partners (Neer 1987).
Enhancing meaning: creating challenging, thoughtful learning experiences that
include learner’s values and perspectives and contribute to an equitable society.
The focus of cooperation learning is to actively involve students in the learning process ( Slavin
1990). Whenever two or more students attempt to solve a problem or answer a question they
become involved in the process of exploratory learning.
Promotive interactions, a basic principle of CL, builds students’ sense of responsibility to
themselves and their group members through reliance upon each other’s talents, and CL
assessment process reward both individuals and groups thus reinforcing this interdependence
(Baird & White 1984).
During the cooperative process, students can become involved in developing curriculum and
class procedures (Kort 1992). They are often asked to assess themselves, their groups, and
class procedures (Meier & Panitz 1996). Teachers can take advantage of this immediate
formative input without having to wait for the results of exams or course evaluations. Students
who participate in structuring the class assume ownership of the process and their opinions
and observations are given credibility. CL helps students wean themselves away from
considering teachers as the sole sources of knowledge and understanding (Felder 1997)
The primary foci in CL are the process of learning and the means by which individuals function
independently and within groups. The high level of interaction and interdependence among
group members leads to “deep” rather than “surface” learning (Entwistle and Tait, 1994), and
to more emphasis on higher order learning. CL is student centred, leading to an emphasis on
learning as well as teaching and to more student ownership of responsibility for that learning.
In contrast, other teaching paradigms consist of individual student effort, competitive testing
to assess competence and an evaluation hierarchy based upon “grade orientation” rather than
“learning orientation” (Lowman, 1987).
Students who develop personal professional relations with teachers by getting to know them,
and who work on project outside of class, achieve better results and tend to stay in school
(Cooper 1994, Hagman & Hayes 1986). Teachers who get to know their students and to
understand their learning styles and problem, and can often find ways of dealing with those
problems and inspiring students (Janke 1980). According to (Felder, 1997) additional benefits
accrue to students in areas of grade improvement, retention of information, information
transfer to other courses and disciplines, and improved class attendance. There is a strong
positive correlation between class attendance and success in courses (Johnson and Johnson
1989) which may help account for the improved performance.
Students who are actively involved in the learning process are much more likely to become
interested in learning and make more of an effort to attend school (Astin 1977). A class where
students interact fosters an environment conducive to high student motivation and
participation and student attendance (Treisman 1983, 1992).
Cooperative learning inherently calls for self-management by students (Resnick 1987). In
order to function within their groups students are trained to come prepared with assignments
completed and they must understand the material which they are going to contribute to their
group. They are also given time process assignments are not only completed but understood.
These primitive interactions help students learn self-management techniques.
CL increases students’ persistence and the likelihood of successful completion of assignments
(Felder 1997). When individuals get stuck they are more likely to give up, but groups are much
more likely to find ways to keep going. This concept is reinforced by the Johnson (1990 p121)
who state, “In a learning situation, student goal achievements are positively correlated:
students perceive that they can reach learning goals if and only if the other students in the
learning group also reach their goals. Thus, students seek outcomes that are beneficial to all
those with whom they are cooperatively linked.”
CL provides many advantages to teachers and learners. Many of these advantages arise from
the intrinsic motivational strengths of CL and the extent to which CL fosters student interest,
behavioural and attitudinal change, and opportunities for success. As Keller demonstrates
+1 anno fa
I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher marilu1610 di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di Lingua straniera per l'educazione e formazione e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università Niccolò Cusano - Unicusano o del prof De Filippi Raffaella.
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