Kaviguru Rabindranath Tagore has rightly said “….let us unite, not in spite of our differences, but through them. For differences can never be wiped away, and life would be so much the poorer without them. Let all human races keep their own personalities, and yet come together, not in a uniformity that is dead, but in a unity that is living”.
About Co-operative learning: Cooperative learning is an instructional strategy that enables small groups of students to work together on a common assignment. The parameters often vary, as students can work collaboratively on a variety of problems, ranging from simple mathematics problems to large assignments such as proposing environmental solutions on a national level. Students are sometimes individually responsible for their part or role in the assignment, and sometimes they are held accountable as an entire group.
Cooperative learning has received a lot of attention and praise—especially since the 1990s when Johnson and Johnson outlined the five basic elements that allowed successful small-group learning:
- Positive interdependence: Students feel responsible for their own and the group’s effort.
- Face-to-face interaction: Students encourage and support one another; the environment encourages discussion and eye contact.
- Individual and group accountability: Each student is responsible for doing their part; the group is accountable for meeting its goal.
- Social Skills: Group members gain direct instruction in the interpersonal, social, and collaborative skills needed to work with others.
- Group processing: Group members analyze their own and the group’s ability to work together.
Co-operative learning experience
A true cooperative learning experience requires that a number of criteria be met. They are:
-Division of labor among students in the group
-Face-to-face interaction between students
-Assignment of specific roles and duties to students
-Group processing of a task
-Positive interdependence in which students all need to do their assigned duties in
order for the task to be completed.
-Individual accountability for completing one’s own assigned duties
-The development of social skills as a result of cooperative interaction
-Provision of group rewards by the teacher
The introduction of “learning teams” into the classroom is an effective method for increasing the number of students willing to make an effort to learn in school. The teams usually work together on long-term assignments, although sometimes students remain together in duos, triads or quadrants for the entire day. In these groups, each individual is responsible for assuring that the other team members learn the assigned material. Those who understand the lesson/material are responsible for teaching it to the others. Groups progress to a new unit of study when all members of the group have mastered the lesson.
Group members are also responsible for the behavior of all members. If a team member displays inappropriate behavior, it is the duty of fellow members to remind that student to `check’ him/herself. The members attempt to refocus the misbehaving student by offering help and suggestions.
Initially, temporary grouping can help students to grasp the concept of long-term learning teams, and practice responsibilities while the teacher sharpens his/her skills and receives feedback from the students regarding how to improve assignments.
( Reference : http://www.behavioradvisor.com/CoopLearning.html)
Conclusion : Cooperative learning is gaining popularity for a number of reasons. Evidence indicates that it raises achievement, promotes positive self concept, and raises regard for others. It appears to be especially useful for students from racial minority and low socio-economic groups who have not excelled to the same degree as middle income majority-culture pupils in the traditional competitive classroom. The performance of these previously less successful groups tends to rise in cooperative groups, majority culture students seem to achieve just as well as with the individually-oriented style of instruction and learning, often better. Cooperative learning may also help to lessen the fatalistic attitude toward schooling that is often found among students from minority groups and those who have experienced repeated failure in the schools. When these students notice the value of their input and effort, a more internal locus of control and belief in one’s ability is fostered. Social and work skills are imbedded.
**[Since Co-operative learning also includes theories made by stalwarts like Johnson & Johnson etc. the Blogger has also cited the references and the Quotations as and when required]**
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