Co-Operative Learning: The Social and Intellectual Outcomes of Learning in Groups

Co-Operative Learning: The Social and Intellectual Outcomes of Learning in Groups

Co-Operative Learning: The Social and Intellectual Outcomes of Learning in Groups

Co-Operative Learning: The Social and Intellectual Outcomes of Learning in Groups

Synopsis

This book gives recognition to the importance of cooperative learning, in contrast to the traditional classroom, as an effective approach to learning. Its coverage of the subject ranges across the educational spectrum, from pre-school years to university, and offers a fresh perspective on a topic that has gained increasing interest worldwide. With contributions from an international panel of leading experts in the field, this engaging text succeeds in providing key insights, linking the theories that underpin the study of group dynamics to their practical application in the classroom. It presents a comprehensive overview of this alternative educative approach, illustrating how cooperative learning experiences can promote socialisation and friendships, and facilitate learning. The editors assemble a range of well-researched essays, covering such aspects as: * The importance of teacher and student interaction * Small group, virtual and non-virtual teaching environments * Assessment practices for measuring the outcomes of individual and group progress * The effect of cooperative learning on relationships amongst students with diverse cultural, social and learning needs. Illustrated with practical examples throughout, this book will be a crucial read for teacher educators, educational psychologists, student teachers, academics and researchers who wish to attain a fuller understanding of the subject and unleash the significant potential of cooperative learning in any educational setting.

Excerpt

One of the most influential educators of the early twentieth century was the philosopher, John Dewey. He believed that education was a process of living and that schools had a responsibility to capture children's interests, to expand and develop their horizons, and assist them in responding appropriately to new ideas and influences. Moreover, learning should be an active and dynamic process based on children's expanding curiosity in their world. It should be child-centred and responsive to the child's own developing social interests and activities. In this regard, he believed that schools had a responsibility to build on students' natural interest in their social environment by fostering interpersonal communication and group involvement. By interacting with others, children receive feedback on their activities, they learn socially appropriate behaviours, and they understand what is involved in co-operating and working together (Dewey 1940, 1966). Dewey's ideas were quite revolutionary at the time and had a profound influence on education, particularly as the effects of developments in the field of group dynamics began to be realized.

Group dynamics

Research into the behaviours of people in groups grew markedly in the second half of the twentieth century. This can be attributed largely to two movements in the social sciences. The first involved the recognition that groups affect individuals in different ways and these effects need to be measured. The second involved the development of a number of innovative behavioural science methodologies that enabled group behaviours to be recorded and measured.

During the two decades before World War 2, a number of studies on individuals' behaviours in groups demonstrated that their behaviours changed when they were exposed to the influence of others. For example, Allport (1924) found that there was a distinct increase in the quantity and

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