Teaching and Teacher Education 6 (1), 81-91. (1976). Some do so deliberately, others inadvertently. CL CHALLENGES OUR COMMITMENT TO THE VALUE OF COMPETITION. Limited budgets for in-service programs, as for other aspects of public education, also help to account for the reliance on inadequate — and, in the long run, counterproductive — training sessions. But while there is no shortage of critics willing to charge American education with failure, often they miss the point about what has gone wrong and why. Teachers need not choose between creating a classroom in which students must arrive at a forced and artificial consensus, on the one hand, and one in which conflict is present but manifests itself as an adversarial exercise, such as debate, on the other. Is CL compatible with conventional curricula and systems of classroom management? The idea of cooperative learning has been around for decades, but it never got to the same prominence as blended learning or differentiated instruction.. Someone — it might have been me — once said that the traditional model of teaching amounts to a rehearsed solo performance by the instructor (with students relegated to the role of audience), whereas CL not only offers instruments to everyone in the room but invites a jazz improvisation. First, and most fundamentally, CL is sometimes regarded as a gimmick to perk up a classroom now and then, offering a break from serious instruction. Even if some experience with it were useful, children have more than they could ever need. Consider, first, the challenge that CL poses to a teacher’s absolute power over the classroom. The question, rather, is whether conflict will occur in the context of competition or cooperation. and B.G. ——-. Please write to the address indicated on the. Students must work in groups to complete tasks collectively toward academic goals. Informal cooperative learning, lasting from a few minutes to one class period, are short-term and ad-hoc groups in which students are required to work together to achieve a shared learning goal. and J.H. And if they are required to adopt the new method, even fewer will implement it with a reasonable degree of fidelity  (Rich, 1990, p. Moreover, children may not like it. What students need is not more of the same but experience with alternative arrangements so they can achieve a sense of perspective about the competition that proliferates in our culture. If any antinomy could be more stark than “working alone versus working with others,” it is “treating others as rivals versus treating others as collaborators.”  The pervasive rivalry sanctioned and socialized by our culture — in the workplace, on the playing field, in the family, and at the core of our political and economic system — is unsurprisingly manifested in the classroom as well. Cooperative learning as part of a comprehensive classroom program designed to promote prosocial development. 7. The teacher asks the question, the students who think they know the answer raise their hands, and the teacher calls on one of them. As far as I am aware, no evidence exists to suggest that the particularly toxic form of failure that comes from being defeated by someone else provides any psychological benefit at all. It is disappointing when, instead of following their instincts, experience, and data to the logical conclusion, they continue to make use of competitive classroom activities — either alongside CL or as a framework in which to fit CL. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 56 (4): 543-554. Barnett, M.A., K.A. Why Cooperative Learning Can Be Threatening. How Asian teachers polish each lesson to perfection. 5). The soothing message here is not only that CL will work regardless of what is being taught, but that educators need not reflect on how challenging or valuable their material may be because students will benefit from learning whatever it is so long as they do it in groups. The goals for courses which employ cooperative learning are not the same as those for a straight lecture class. A student who seems glad for the chance to play a competitive game in the classroom, moreover, actually may be responding to its status as a game (and the break from ordinary studies this represents) more than to its competitive nature. This message continues to be learned in classrooms around the nation despite literally hundreds of studies confirming that competition in the classroom not only sabotages relationships and undermines self-confidence but also impedes achievement and long-term interest in learning (Johnson and Johnson, 1989; Kohn, 1992b; Nicholls, 1989). Making children fail in order to teach them to cope — in fact, any use of competition — calls to mind an ironic notice I once saw tacked to a wall in a sixth-grade classroom:  The beatings will continue until morale improves. Cooperative learning also builds an ethnic relation among students creating mutual understanding between them. CL is not simply a set of techniques. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. [7]  (By way of analogy, consider the distinction between teaching children about religion and indoctrinating them to be religious.) (1992b). The fact of working together would seem an unavoidable affront to the principle that academic accomplishment is or should be a solitary phenomenon. The problem is not so much that students cannot find Turkey on a map but that they do not find themselves part of a community of learners. H.C. In Children Helping Children, ed. Bryan. We love the Kagan cooperative structures & use them all the time in our classrooms K-6. Theoretical perspectives on cooperative learning While there is a general consensus among researchers about the positive effects of cooperative learning on students’ achievement, there is a controversy about why and In each case, the task of figuring out the reason for this rejection, if it is undertaken at all, is conducted as a post mortem, by which time a new pedagogical transplant is already underway. Building Cooperative Societies: A Curriculum Guide for Grades 6-9 on Social and Economic Cooperation. Rather, we should engage this individual in a continuing discussion on the nature of competition itself. Cooperative learning should be seen as a key part of each lesson, but not the whole lesson. Part of this shift is reflected in the movement toward Whole Language learning, about which much has been written. Group grade grubbing versus cooperative learning. Cooperative Learning: Theory, Research, and Practice. In fact, cooperative learning is a type of collaborative learning, which is why at first glance, the two might seem similar. In this sense, it is not about circumstantial application of group techniques, but the promotion of exchange and participation of each member in order to build a shared cognition. “But when pupils talk to other pupils without the teacher’s authority or without the teacher being able to hear the exchanges, then…an area of potential pupil power is exposed” (Dunn, Rudduck, and Cowie, 1989, pp. Short URL: https://serc.carleton.edu/10848. Under these conditions, group members may simply each turn in their share of the project, not necessarily even looking at their partners' work, and move on to the next task. The Brighter Side of Human Nature: Altruism and Empathy in Everyday Life. While a case can be made that students would benefit from a curricular unit in which they explicitly consider the effects of competition, talking about it is quite different from immersing them in it.

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