Friday, January 18, 2013

Why use Cooperative Learning in the Classroom?

Cooperative learning activities contribute to the creation of a productive classroom environment by cognitively engaging students in their exploration of content. Here are some other reasons why cooperative learning should be used in the classroom:
  1. Cooperative Learning activities produce positive outcomes since they engage students who show a greater joy in learning and more interest and liking for school and class.
  2. Cooperative learning activities engage students by stimulating interaction. Students interact in groups of tow or four and this provides a safe team context and interpersonal support. It’s very important that children feel secure and supported. It is easier for them to talk with a supportive teammate rather than in front of the whole class.
  3. All cooperative learning activities are learner centered because students interact and learn from each other rather than directly learning from the teacher’s instruction. Learning requires students’ direct and active involvement and participation. The role of the teacher changes from direct teaching (teacher centered) to monitor and facilitator. The teacher watches their students learn and listens to them talk.
  4. Cooperative learning activities produce real-life learning experiences, which reduce or eliminate the transference gap generated by traditional lesson formats. Most adults in the United States took foreign language classes, but few became fluent in that language because the lessons did not emphasize practice in real life situations. Memorizing vocabulary words or rules of grammar does little for fluency because one cannot transfer the skill of analyzing sentence structure to the skill of speaking. In contrast when the skills are practiced in settings similar to real-life settings they can easily be transferred. Cooperative learning activities allow the students to practice real life settings like leadership skills, teamwork skills, conflict resolution skills, listening skills, and the ability to express and defend their own point of view. Students learn about integrity, understanding, responsibility, and respect.
Kagan, S. (2002) "Kagan Structures: Not One More Program. A Better Way to Teach Any Program"

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