General Teaching Skills / Prof. Masud
EDF 4430/Spring 2013 MDCC
Cooperative Learning: A Successful Approach
Learning constantly takes place in the real world all around us. Social interaction is the key element that plays an enormous role in our daily knowledge acquisition. Not surprisingly, intrapersonal relations the one factor being currently used to promote learning in school classrooms. Not just any kind of social interaction, but a ‘cooperative’ one. Interestingly, John Dewey described education “as a vehicle for teaching citizens to live cooperatively in a social democracy” (Cooper, Robinson, McKinney). And to live in just that kind of society requires cooperative learning ...view middle of the document...
According to the pioneer psychologist Lev Vygotsky, “thought itself develops socially” (2013).
Moreover, Cooperative learning is a kind of active learning that engages different learning styles all at once, as opposed to just listening to the teacher and taking notes (Keyser). Traditional teaching methods that focus on individuality, such as lecturing, can reach auditory learners, but limit other learners with different styles, i.e. visual and kinesthetic (Keyser). Some might resist this method, claiming it will bar student thinking since they are each given restrictive tasks to fulfill in each group, such as recorder, time keeper, etc. (Thursday, 2012). Yet, the mere process of sharing ideas and experiences to increase understanding within cooperative learning groups allow for cognitive stimulation to take place, that is, besides appealing to each students’ unique learning style. It will also, in turn, peak their interest to actually want to continue learning by taking them out of the monotonous routine.
Lastly, if we could simulate a real-life work scenario where people are required to collaborate together to reach a destined goal, why not teach our students the very same? In cooperative learning, group members teach each other, but each member is responsible for their own work as well (Cooper, et.al.). They are held accountable not only for their own contribution to the group, but to also make sure their group work is an overall fine job (Cooper, et.al.). Unfortunately, it is in this area that group learning is frowned upon simply because it will supposedly produce uneven amounts of workload among the group members, thereby creating unfair grading (Cooper, et.al.). Nevertheless, even though the students learn the material through their own peers, teachers can create individual accountability through individual assessments, reports, and other assignments thereafter cooperative group learning (Cooper, et.al.).
As a teacher, it is...