Cooperative Learning: Theory and Research

Cooperative Learning: Theory and Research

Cooperative Learning: Theory and Research

Cooperative Learning: Theory and Research

Synopsis

This collection of theoretical and empirical research papers addresses the most recent advances in cooperative learning and its applications, implications, and effects on teachers and students at both the elementary and secondary levels. The central concern of the contributors is how a set of particular instruction methods affects people in classrooms and what this form of instruction contributes or fails to contribute to them. In their attempt to illuminate some of the major effects of cooperative learning methods, the contributors discuss a number of theoretical and practical issues not covered elsewhere.

Excerpt

This volume seeks to provide a reply to the question, "What have recent theory and research to contribute to our understanding of cooperative learning and its effects on teachers and students?" As such, this volume concentrates on how that set of instructional methods generally included under the title of "cooperative learning" affects its practitioners and their clients, the students. As expected, the effects of any instructional method probably can be found over a broad range of dependent and mediating variables, and this is certainly the case for cooperative learning. Some investigators might feel that such diversity in the dependent variables discussed in a volume of this kind detracts from the theoretical unity of the book. By necessity, the theory and research related to a specific form of teaching lead in many different directions. Investigators interested, for example, in thinking patterns, inter-group relations, motivation, or teachers' verbal behavior, may find only one study or theoretical paper in this book to be of relevance to their work. Since investigators frequently focus on topics that often appear as dependent or mediating variables in educational settings rather than as part of the chief independent variable typical of schools, namely the process of instruction, some can claim that a book of this kind cannot be meaningful to the community of investigators concerned with education.

In light of this latter position, one that is often implicit in many volumes of collected papers on psycho-educational topics, it seemed desirable to make explicit the goal of this book. The goal here is to illuminate at least some of the major effects of cooperative learning methods as (part of) an independent vari-

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