Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cooperative Learning: A Learner-Centred Teaching Strategy

Cooperative learning is a strategy that interests more and more people. As proof, Barry, K. and King, L. (2002) state that several reviews of research on cooperative learning has appeared in recent years and give as examples Davidson (1990), Good and Brophy (1997), Good, Mulryan and McCaslin (1992) Slavin (1991), Johnson and Johnson (1994) and Mulryan (1989).

The use of cooperative learning dates back before the start of the 1st century itself. Johnson, D. and Johnson, F. (2009) mention the Talmud (a collection of Judaism’s holy books) which states that in order to learn, one must have a learning partner. Roman philosopher Seneca advocated cooperating learning through such statement as: Qui docet discet, which means when you teach, you learn twice.

Cooperative learning refers to a teaching strategy in which small heterogeneous groups of pupils share the responsibility of learning and teaching each other to achieve a common goal.

In cooperative learning, students are put into small groups and after instructions have been given to them by the teacher, they work through the assignment until all group members successfully understand and complete it.

In cooperative learning, students perceive that they can only reach their learning objectives if and only if other students in the learning group achieve their learning goals. There is an interdependence among pupils of the same group. It is a “your success benefits me and my success benefits you” situation (Johnson, D. et al., 1993).
List of References:
1.      Barry, K. and King, L., 2002. Beginning Teaching and Beyond. 3rd ed. Australia: Social Science Press.
2.      Johnson, D. and Johnson, F., 2009. Joining Together: Group Theory and Group Skills. 10th ed. New Jersey: Pearson.
3.      Johnson, D., Johnson, R. and Johnson Holubec, E., 1993. Circles of Learning: Cooperation in the Classroom. Minnesota: Interaction Book Co.

Other materials on Cooperative learning:

Essential Components of Cooperative learning
Types of Cooperative Learning