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Action Research Paper On Cooperative Learning Model

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Cooperative Learning Essay, Research Paper

Cooperative learning, or student- centered instruction is not a new concept. It has been utilized in nearly all academic settings and grade levels for the past decade. This group approach to learning promotes improved academic achievement, better attendance, higher motivation, and an increased interest for the subject and classmates. Industry specialists have deemed the ability to work well with others one of the most important skills necessary for success. Research and studies have proven its effectiveness, however the process is not without its critics. Students often resist the responsibility for learning that is placed upon their shoulders. They may resent the active role that they are expected to take on. Personality conflicts within the group may also contribute to a general feeling of malcontent. It is the role of the instructor to initially guide the groups, and then monitor their progress in order to ensure maximum learning.

The cooperative approach to learning is not intended to replace direct instruction from the teacher. It should be used to complement the direct instruction by affording the students the opportunity to respond to open-ended questions, role-play, and brainstorm. When several students tackle the same problem, they may use a variety of methods. Watching someone arrive at a solution in a differing manner is beneficial as a learner. When students explain the process that they used to arrive at a solution, they not only teach the other members of the group, but they reinforce their own knowledge. Studies have proven that the best way to retain information is to teach it to others. Not only is the direct instruction received, but it is practiced, processed and further understood.

Students often question the concept of being forced to work with others to achieve a goal that they feel they could easily achieve alone. Those who are academically gifted or are

extremely shy are difficult to convince. The facts however state that most employers require team work to resolve issues. Many occupations revolve their practices around working together. If a student has never been guided through this method, he/she may fall short of being competent enough to do the job well. Intelligence is simply not enough in real world occupations. There are a limited number of university courses that solely instruct students on the etiquette of working cooperatively. It is necessary therefore, to teach these skills within the framework of all content areas. High achieving and shy students will also find that their grades may improve by being involved in a cooperative process.

There are many road blocks that may occur throughout the journey to cooperative learning. Not all students take their responsibilities seriously enough. Many feel that their slack will be picked up by the others in the group. Some students may be too strong of leaders and stifle the contributions of the other members of the team. Conflict is a natural by-product of cooperation. When students are asked to work together, it is with the intent that they will each provide a differing view and /or opinion. When differing opinions are joined together to create one product, conflict is sure to arise. Conflict can be a very healthy springboard to learning. When students dialogue and debate their opinions they might reinforce their ideas or dismiss them. The ability to listen and be flexible to new views is absolutely essential to the success of a group. Assigning roles may also help to ease the imbalance of effort. The students who don?t contribute enough effort should first be encouraged by their groups. If this proves unsuccessful, the instructor should step in and mediate. It is absolutely unfair to punish a group for the ineffectiveness of one member. Students should do everything possible to remain a cooperative and cohesive unit, but if all attempts fail they should be allowed a chance to rebuild a new unit. It

should also never be the responsibility of the strongest member of the team to carry the others. The instructor can not assume that all group conflicts should be resolved alone. Classroom modeling of effective group work and role-playing of conflict situations should be directed by the instructor.

Many years of research and numerous studies can not be denied. Cooperative learning is an effective method for understanding and retaining information. Industry experts can not be ignored when they state that being able to work effectively in a team is an imperative skill. Cooperative learning is not a replacement for the classroom teacher. It is intended to complement the direct instruction by causing students to be confident thinkers and active learners.

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Cooperative Learning Essay Research Paper Cooperative learning

Cooperative Learning Essay, Research Paper

Cooperative learning, or student- centered instruction is not a new concept. It has been utilized in nearly all academic settings and grade levels for the past decade. This group approach to learning promotes improved academic achievement, better attendance, higher motivation, and an increased interest for the subject and classmates. Industry specialists have deemed the ability to work well with others one of the most important skills necessary for success. Research and studies have proven its effectiveness, however the process is not without its critics. Students often resist the responsibility for learning that is placed upon their shoulders. They may resent the active role that they are expected to take on. Personality conflicts within the group may also contribute to a general feeling of malcontent. It is the role of the instructor to initially guide the groups, and then monitor their progress in order to ensure maximum learning.

The cooperative approach to learning is not intended to replace direct instruction from the teacher. It should be used to complement the direct instruction by affording the students the opportunity to respond to open-ended questions, role-play, and brainstorm. When several students tackle the same problem, they may use a variety of methods. Watching someone arrive at a solution in a differing manner is beneficial as a learner. When students explain the process that they used to arrive at a solution, they not only teach the other members of the group, but they reinforce their own knowledge. Studies have proven that the best way to retain information is to teach it to others. Not only is the direct instruction received, but it is practiced, processed and further understood.

Students often question the concept of being forced to work with others to achieve a goal that they feel they could easily achieve alone. Those who are academically gifted or are

extremely shy are difficult to convince. The facts however state that most employers require team work to resolve issues. Many occupations revolve their practices around working together. If a student has never been guided through this method, he/she may fall short of being competent enough to do the job well. Intelligence is simply not enough in real world occupations. There are a limited number of university courses that solely instruct students on the etiquette of working cooperatively. It is necessary therefore, to teach these skills within the framework of all content areas. High achieving and shy students will also find that their grades may improve by being involved in a cooperative process.

There are many road blocks that may occur throughout the journey to cooperative learning. Not all students take their responsibilities seriously enough. Many feel that their slack will be picked up by the others in the group. Some students may be too strong of leaders and stifle the contributions of the other members of the team. Conflict is a natural by-product of cooperation. When students are asked to work together, it is with the intent that they will each provide a differing view and /or opinion. When differing opinions are joined together to create one product, conflict is sure to arise. Conflict can be a very healthy springboard to learning. When students dialogue and debate their opinions they might reinforce their ideas or dismiss them. The ability to listen and be flexible to new views is absolutely essential to the success of a group. Assigning roles may also help to ease the imbalance of effort. The students who don?t contribute enough effort should first be encouraged by their groups. If this proves unsuccessful, the instructor should step in and mediate. It is absolutely unfair to punish a group for the ineffectiveness of one member. Students should do everything possible to remain a cooperative and cohesive unit, but if all attempts fail they should be allowed a chance to rebuild a new unit. It

should also never be the responsibility of the strongest member of the team to carry the others. The instructor can not assume that all group conflicts should be resolved alone. Classroom modeling of effective group work and role-playing of conflict situations should be directed by the instructor.

Many years of research and numerous studies can not be denied. Cooperative learning is an effective method for understanding and retaining information. Industry experts can not be ignored when they state that being able to work effectively in a team is an imperative skill. Cooperative learning is not a replacement for the classroom teacher. It is intended to complement the direct instruction by causing students to be confident thinkers and active learners.

Action research

Action research

Action research is a reflective process of progressive problem solving led by individuals working with others in teams or as part of a " community of practice " to improve the way they address issues and solve problems. Action research can also be undertaken by larger organizations or institutions, assisted or guided by professional researchers, with the aim of improving their strategies, practices, and knowledge of the environments within which they practice.

Kurt Lewin. then a professor at MIT. first coined the term “action research” in about 1944, and it appears in his 1946 paper “Action Research and Minority Problems”. In that paper, he described action research as “a comparative research on the conditions and effects of various forms of social action and research leading to social action” that uses “a spiral of steps, each of which is composed of a circle of planning, action, and fact-finding about the result of the action”.

Action research is an interactive inquiry process that balances problem solving actions implemented in a collaborative context with data-driven collaborative analysis or research to understand underlying causes enabling future predictions about personal and organizational change (Reason & Bradbury, 2001). After six decades of action research development, many methodologies have evolved that adjust the balance to focus more on the actions taken or more on the research that results from the reflective understanding of the actions. This tension exists between

# those that are more driven by the researcher’s agenda to those more driven by participants;
# those that are motivated primarily by instrumental goal attainment to those motivated primarily by the aim of personal, organizational, or societal transformation; and
# 1st-, to 2nd-, to 3rd-person research (i.e. my research on my own action, aimed primarily at personal change; our research on our group (family/team), aimed primarily at improving the group; and ‘scholarly’ research aimed primarily at theoretical generalization and/or large scale change).

Action research challenges traditional social science, by moving beyond reflective knowledge created by outside experts sampling variables to an active moment-to-moment theorizing, data collecting, and inquiring occurring in the midst of emergent structure. “Knowledge is always gained through action and for action. From this starting point, to question the validity of social knowledge is to question, not how to develop a reflective science about action, but how to develop genuinely well-informed action—how to conduct an action science” (Torbert 2001).

Chris Argyris's Action Science

Chris Argyris ’ Action Science begins with the study of how human beings design their actions in difficult situations. Human actions are designed to achieve intended consequences and governed by a set of environment variable s. How those governing variables are treated in designing actions are the key differences between single loop learning and double loop learning. When actions are designed to achieve the intended consequences and to suppress conflict about the governing variables, a single loop learning cycle usually ensues. On the other hand, when actions are taken, not only to achieve the intended consequences, but also to openly inquire about conflict and to possibly transform the governing variables, both single loop and double loop learning cycles usually ensue. (Argyris applies single loop and double loop learning concepts not only to personal behaviors but also to organizational behaviors in his models.)

John Heron and Peter Reason's Cooperative Inquiry

Cooperative inquiry. also known as collaborative inquiry was first proposed by John Heron in 1971 and later expanded with Peter Reason. The major idea of cooperative inquiry is to “research ‘with’ rather than ‘on’ people.” It emphasizes that all active participants are fully involved in research decisions as co-researchers. Cooperative inquiry creates a research cycle among four different types of knowledge: propositional knowing (as in contemporary science), practical knowing (the knowledge that comes with actually doing what you propose), experiential knowing (the feedback we get in real time about our interaction with the larger world) and presentational knowing (the artistic rehearsal process through which we craft new practices). The research process iterates these four stages at each cycle with deepening experience and knowledge of the initial proposition, or of new propositions, at every cycle.

Paulo Freire's Participatory Action Research (PAR)

Participatory action research has emerged in recent years as a significant methodology for intervention, development and change within communities and groups. It is now promoted and implemented by many international development agencies and university programs, as well as countless local community organizations around the world. PAR builds on the critical pedagogy put forward by Paulo Freire as a response to the traditional formal models of education where the “teacher” stands at the front and “imparts” information to the “students” that are passive recipients. This was further developed in "adult education" models throughout Latin America.

William Torbert’s Developmental Action Inquiry

torbert Developmental Action Inquiry ] is a “way of simultaneously conducting action and inquiry as a disciplined leadership practice that increases the wider effectiveness of our actions. Such action helps individuals, teams, organizations become more capable of self-transformation and thus more creative, more aware, more just and more sustainable” (Torbert, 2004). Action Inquiry challenges our attention to span four different territories of experience (at the personal, group, or organizational scales) in the midst of actions. This practice promotes timeliness – learning with moment to moment intentional awareness – among individuals and with regard to the outside world of nature and human institutions. It studies the “pre-constituted internalized and externalized universe in the present, both as it resonates with and departs from the past, and as it resonates with and potentiates the future” (Torbert, 2001).

Jack Whitehead's and Jean McNiff's Living Theory approach

In the [http://www.actionresearch.net Living Theory approach ] of Whitehead (1989) and Whitehead and McNiff (2006) individuals generate explanations of their educational influences in their own learning, in the learning of others and in the learning of social formations. They generate the explanations from experiencing themselves as living contradictions in enquiries of the kind, 'How do I improve what I am doing?' They use action reflection cycles of expressing concerns, developing action plans, acting and gathering data, evaluating the influences of action, modifying concerns, ideas and action in the light of the evaluations. The explanations include life-affirming, energy-flowing values as explanatory principles. A living theory approach with the above qualities is distinguished from the living theories produced by practitioner-researchers because of the uniqueness of each living theory generated by individuals.

Action research in organization development

Wendell L French and Cecil Bell define organization development (OD) at one point as "organization improvement through action research". cite book |author= Wendell L French; Cecil Bell|title=Organization development: behavioral science interventions for organization improvement|publisher= Prentice-Hall|location= Englewood Cliffs, N.J.|year=1973|pages=18|isbn=0136416624 9780136416623 0136416543 9780136416548|oclc=314258|doi= ] If one idea can be said to summarize OD's underlying philosophy, it would be action research as it was conceptualized by Kurt Lewin and later elaborated and expanded on by other behavioral scientists. Concerned with social change and, more particularly, with effective, permanent social change, Lewin believed that the motivation to change was strongly related to action: If people are active in decisions affecting them, they are more likely to adopt new ways. "Rational social management", he said, "proceeds in a spiral of steps, each of which is composed of a circle of planning, action, and fact-finding about the result of action". cite book |author=Kurt Lewin|title=Group Decision and Social Change|publisher= Holt, Rinehart and Winston|location=New York|year=1958|pages=201|isbn=|oclc=|doi= ]

Lewin's description of the process of change involves three steps cite book |author=Kurt Lewin|title=Group Decision and Social Change|publisher= Holt, Rinehart and Winston|location=New York|year=1958|pages=201|isbn=|oclc=|doi= ] :

"Unfreezing ": Faced with a dilemma or disconfirmation, the individual or group becomes aware of a need to change.

"Changing ": The situation is diagnosed and new models of behavior are explored and tested.

"Refreezing ": Application of new behavior is evaluated, and if reinforcing, adopted.

"Figure 1" summarizes the steps and processes involved in planned change through action research. Action research is depicted as a cyclical process of change. The cycle begins with a series of planning actions initiated by the client and the change agent working together. The principal elements of this stage include a preliminary diagnosis, data gathering, feedback of results, and joint action planning. In the language of systems theory, this is the input phase, in which the client system becomes aware of problems as yet unidentified, realizes it may need outside help to effect changes, and shares with the consultant the process of problem diagnosis.

The second stage of action research is the action, or transformation, phase. This stage includes actions relating to learning processes (perhaps in the form of role analysis) and to planning and executing behavioral changes in the client organization. As shown in Figure 1, feedback at this stage would move via Feedback Loop A and would have the effect of altering previous planning to bring the learning activities of the client system into better alignment with change objectives. Included in this stage is action-planning activity carried out jointly by the consultant and members of the client system. Following the workshop or learning sessions, these action steps are carried out on the job as part of the transformation stage. cite book |author=Richard Arvid Johnson|title=Management, systems, and society. an introduction|publisher=Goodyear Pub. Co.|location=Pacific Palisades, Calif.|year=1976 |pages=222-224|isbn=0876205406 9780876205402|oclc=2299496|doi= ]

The third stage of action research is the output, or results, phase. This stage includes actual changes in behavior (if any) resulting from corrective action steps taken following the second stage. Data are again gathered from the client system so that progress can be determined and necessary adjustments in learning activities can be made. Minor adjustments of this nature can be made in learning activities via Feedback Loop B (see "Figure 1"). Major adjustments and reevaluations would return the OD project to the first, or planning, stage for basic changes in the program. The action-research model shown in "Figure 1" closely follows Lewin's repetitive cycle of planning, action, and measuring results. It also illustrates other aspects of Lewin's general model of change. As indicated in the diagram, the planning stage is a period of unfreezing, or problem awareness. cite book |author=Kurt Lewin|title=Group Decision and Social Change|publisher= Holt, Rinehart and Winston|location=New York|year=1958|pages=201|isbn=|oclc=|doi= ] The action stage is a period of changing, that is, trying out new forms of behavior in an effort to understand and cope with the system's problems. (There is inevitable overlap between the stages, since the boundaries are not clear-cut and cannot be in a continuous process). The results stage is a period of refreezing, in which new behaviors are tried out on the job and, if successful and reinforcing, become a part of the system's repertoire of problem-solving behavior.

Action research is problem centered, client centered, and action oriented. It involves the client system in a diagnostic, active-learning, problem-finding, and problem-solving process. Data are not simply returned in the form of a written report but instead are fed back in open joint sessions, and the client and the change agent collaborate in identifying and ranking specific problems, in devising methods for finding their real causes, and in developing plans for coping with them realistically and practically. Scientific method in the form of data gathering, forming hypotheses, testing hypotheses, and measuring results, although not pursued as rigorously as in the laboratory, is nevertheless an integral part of the process. Action research also sets in motion a long-range, cyclical, self-correcting mechanism for maintaining and enhancing the effectiveness of the client's system by leaving the system with practical and useful tools for self-analysis and self-renewal. cite book |author=Richard Arvid Johnson|title=Management, systems, and society. an introduction|publisher=Goodyear Pub. Co.|location=Pacific Palisades, Calif.|year=1976 |pages=222-224|isbn=0876205406 9780876205402|oclc=2299496|doi= ]

Participatory Video is a set of techniques that involve a group or community in shaping and creating their own film, in order to explore, solve and communicate their issues. It started in 1967 by Canadian advocate Don Snowdon, who changed the lives of Newfoundland 's Fogo Islanders. By watching each other’s films, the different villagers on the island came to realise that they shared many of the same problems and that by working together they could solve some of them. The films were also shown to politicians who lived too far away and were too busy to actually visit the island. As a result of this dialogue, government policies and actions were changed. The techniques developed by Snowden became known as the Fogo process. Its chief power is that the video is edited by its participants.

* Appreciative Inquiry
* Lesson study
* Participatory research
* Participatory action research
* Peer research
* Phronetic social science
* Praxis intervention
*For the British charity organisation see Action Medical Research
*

* General sources for action research
** [http://cadres.pepperdine.edu/ccar/index.html Center for Collaborative Action Research ] Contains examples of peer-reviewed action research reports and a [http://ccar.wikispaces.com/CCAR+WIKI wiki ] for supporting those engaged in the process of writing or supporting action research.
** Davison, Martinsons & Kock, Principles of canonical action research, Information Systems Journal, 2004.
** Burns, D. 2007. Systemic Action Research: A strategy for whole system change. Bristol: Policy Press.
** Greenwood, D. J. & Levin, M. "Introduction to action research: social research for social change", Thousand Oaks, Calif. Sage Publications, 1998.
** Kock, N. (Ed) (2006). Information systems action research: An applied view of emerging concepts and methods. New York, NY: Springer.
** Reason & Bradbury, Handbook of Action Research. London: Sage, 2001.
** Sherman & Torbert, Transforming Social Inquiry, Transforming Social Action: New paradigms for crossing the theory/practice divide in universities and communities. Boston, Kluwer, 2000.
** Woodman & Pasmore, Research in Organizational Change & Development series. Greenwich CT: Jai Press
** Addison-Wesley Series in Organization Development

*Scholarly Journals
** [http://www.sagepub.co.uk/journalsProdDesc.nav?prodId=Journal201642 Action Research ]
** [http://www.scu.edu.au/schools/gcm/ar/arhome.html Action Research International ]
** [http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/09650792.asp Educational Action Research ]
** Journal of Applied Behavioral Science
** Journal of Organizational Change Management
** Management Learning

* Philosophical sources of action research
** Abram, D. 1996. The Spell of the Sensuous. New York: Vintage.
** Argyris, C. Putnam, R. & Smith, D. 1985. Action Science: Concepts, methods and skills for research and intervention. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
** Gadamer, H. 1982. Truth and Method. New York: Crossroad.
** Habermas, J. 1984/1987. The Theory of Communicative Action, Vol.s I & II. Boston:Beacon.
** Hallward, P. 2003. Badiou: A subject to truth. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
** Lewin, K. (1946) Action research and minority problems. J Soc. Issues 2(4): 34-46.
** Malin, S. 2001. Nature Loves to Hide: Quantum physics and the nature of reality, a Western perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
** Polanyi, M. 1958. Personal Knowledge. New York: Harper.
** Senge, P. 1990. The Fifth Discipline. New York: Doubleday Currency.
**Torbert, W. 1991. The Power of Balance: Transforming Self, Society, and Scientific Inquiry
** Varela, F. Thompson, E. & Rosch E. 1991. The Embodied Mind: Cognitive science and human experience. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.
** Whitehead, J. & McNiff, J. (2006) Action Research Living Theory, London; Sage.
** Wilber, K. 1998. The Marriage of Sense and Soul: Integrating science and religion. New York: Random House

* Exemplar s and methodological discussions of action research
** Argyris, C. 1970. Intervention Theory and Method. Reading MA: Addison-Wesley.
** Argyris, C. 1980. Inner Contradictions of Rigorous Research. San Diego CA: Academic Press.
** Argyris, C. 1994. Knowledge for Action. San Francisco CA: Jossey-Bass.

** Cameron, K. & Quinn, R. 1999. Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture. Reading MA: Addison-Wesley.
** Flyvbjerg, B. 2001. Making Social Science Matter. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press.
** Freire, P. 1970. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Herder & Herder.
** Garreau, J. 2005. Radical Evolution: The promise and peril of enhancing our minds, our bodies – and what it means to be human. New York: Doubleday.
** Heikkinen, H. Kakkori, L. & Huttunen, R. 2001. This is my truth, tell me yours: some aspects of action research quality in the light of truth theories. Educational Action Research 1/2001. http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content

content=a739035953
** Heron, J. 1996. Cooperative Inquiry: Research into the human condition. London: Sage.
** McNiff, J. & Whitehead, J. (2006) All You Need To Know About Action Research, London; Sage.
** Ogilvy, J. 2000. Creating Better Futures: Scenario planning as a tool for a better tomorrow. Oxford UK: Oxford University Press.
** Reason, P. & Rowan, J. 1981. Human Inquiry: A Sourcebook of New Paradigm Research. London: Wiley.
** Reason, P. 1995. Participation in Human Inquiry. London: Sage.
** Schein, E. 1999. Process Consultation Revisited. Reading MA: Addison-Wesley.
** Senge, P. Scharmer, C. Jaworski, J. & Flowers, B. 2004. Presence: Human purpose and the field of the future. Cambridge MA: Society for Organizational Learning.
** Torbert, W. & Associates 2004. Action Inquiry: The Secret of Timely and Transforming Leadership.

* 1st-Person Research/Practice Exemplars
** Bateson, M. 1984. With a Daughter’s Eye: A Memoir of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson. New York: Plume/Penguin.
** Raine, N. 1998. After Silence: Rape and My Journey Back. New York: Crown.
** Harrison, R. 1995. Consultant's Journey. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
* Whitehead, J. (1993) The Growth of Educational Knowledge, Bournemouth; Hyde. Retrieved 1 March 2007 from http://people.bath.ac.uk/edsajw/writings/jwgek93.htm

* [http://distributedresearch.net/wiki DARnet wiki - Action Research with distributed communities of practice ]
* [http://habituspraxis.sprinterweb.net/praxisintervention.pdf Praxis Intervention ]
* [http://www.ericdigests.org/2003-1/action.htm Action Research in Science Education ] - from the Education Resources Information Center Clearinghouse for Science, Mathematics, and Environmental Education, Columbus, Ohio.
* [http://www.uwe.ac.uk/solar/ SOLAR: Social and Organisational Learning as Action Research ]
* [http://www.alara.net.au Action Learning, Action Research Association Inc. ]
* [http://www.hitos.no/noraforsk/english/ Nordic Centre for Action Research and Action Learning (NorAforsk) ]

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Cooperative Learning - Research Papers - 834 Words

Cooperative Learning

cooperative learning Leon Kruset
1. Cooperative learning
a. A description of cooperative learning.
i. The idea of students working together in small groups, and by working together each student is able to bring each his or her own originality to the task; while also working with the teacher to keep the students on track. b. A brief history of CL.

ii. “Prior to World War II, social theorists such as Allport, Watson, Shaw, and Mead began establishing cooperative learning theory after finding that group work was more effective and efficient in quantity, quality, and overall productivity when compared to working alone.[2] However, it wasn’t until 1937 when researchers May and Doob[3] found that people who cooperate and work together to achieve shared goals, were more successful in attaining outcomes, than those who strived independently to complete the same goals. Furthermore, they found that independent achievers had a greater likelihood of displaying competitive behaviours. Philosophers and psychologists in the 1930s and 40’s such as John Dewey, Kurt Lewin, and Morton Deutsh also influenced the cooperative learning theory practiced today.[4] Dewey believed it was important that students develop knowledge and social skills that could be used outside of the classroom, and in the democratic society. This theory portrayed students as active recipients of knowledge by discussing information and answers in groups, engaging in the learning process together rather than being passive receivers of information (e.g. teacher talking, students listening).” (wiki) c. Examples of CL activities

iii. Jigsaw - Groups with five students are set up. Each group member is assigned some unique material to learn and then to teach to his group members. To help in the learning students across the class working on the same sub-section get together to decide what is important and how to teach it. After practice in these "expert" groups the.

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Cooperative Learning Research Paper Starter

Cooperative Learning Research Paper Starter

This article presents an overview of cooperative learning, an instructional technique developed to enhance academic achievement through social and interpersonal skill development. The central tenet of cooperative learning is that through interaction and dialogue with others around a topic of study, student achievement increases, attitudes toward learning improve, and students learn and retain more information than through other, more intrapersonal, instructional methodologies (i.e. teacher directed/lecture style formats). Research points to all of these positive effects as well as improved intergroup, interethnic and gender cooperation as well as increased self-esteem and confidence for all student populations including special needs, gifted and mainstream students. Although there are many cooperative learning strategies in K-12 education, the most common include STAD (Student Teams-Achievement Divisions), TGT (Teams-Games-Tournament), Jigsaw, Group Investigation, Know-Want to Know-Do-Learn K-W-D-L, CIRC (Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition), Learning Together, and Literature Circles.

Keywords Cooperative Integrated Reading & Composition (CIRC); Differentiated Instruction; Group Investigation; Heterogeneous Grouping; Homogeneous Grouping; Jigsaw; Know-Want to Know-Do-Learn (K-W-D-L); Learning Together; Literature Circles; Positive Interdependence; Random Grouping; Rubrics; Student Teams-Achievement Divisions (STAD); Teams-Games-Tournament (TGT)

Overview

Cooperative learning is an instructional strategy that emphasizes the importance of positive social interactions among students working in small groups on a given task or assignment related to a unit of study. The effects of cooperation and group interaction have been studied since the 1920's. However, it was not until fifty years later and the contributions of independent researchers, most notably David Johnson, Roger Johnson and Robert Slavin, that cooperative learning started to become a common instructional methodology in K-12 classrooms. The methodology can be employed in a wide range of classrooms, both K-12 and higher education, as well as in a wide range of subject specific disciplines. Research indicates that cooperative learning has a direct impact on academic achievement, self-esteem, confidence, interethnic relationships, and overall attitudes toward the learning process. Cooperative learning theory draws extensively on research by Piaget, Vygotsky and Carroll.

The five essential elements of cooperative learning include positive interdependence, face-to-face interactions, individual and group accountability, interpersonal skills and opportunities for group processing (Johnson, Johnson & Holubec, 1990). Positive interdependence requires students to depend on one another in order to complete a given task or assignment. A teacher can create positive interdependence by ensuring that all students are assigned roles, materials are shared among members, the task requires students to agree on strategies used and a final product, and group rewards are used to praise students.

The second element required for cooperative learning to be successful is face-to-face interactions. Teachers must create space in a classroom environment for teams to meet with each other and have opportunities to share ideas, dialogue about possible solutions, resolve conflicts, and come to a consensus. Teachers must also provide, through modeling, proper ways to solve disagreements and interact positively when in a group setting. The overall outcome of face-to-face interactions is that students are provided with a structured environment in which they help, encourage and support each other in pursuit of a common goal or objective.

Individual and group accountability refers to the actual assessment of group interactions and the final product as well as the ways in which targeted feedback is provided to both the individual and the group as a whole. The trick to ensuring success is to connect and bridge the gap between individual and group feedback. The group must understand that each individual plays a vital role in the success of the entire group and therefore must know ways in which each individual can improve as well as how the group can improve overall. Through motivating rewards and feedback, students hold each other accountable and thereby expect individuals to interact well with each other, come prepared to the group meeting, remain on task and successfully complete the given assignment.

Cooperative learning capitalizes on social interaction and peer relationships. Therefore, positive interpersonal skills are necessary for success. Students must understand, and sometimes be explicitly taught, the social skills necessary to navigate through the group learning process. Through assigned roles, students learn the social skills required to lead a group, keep a group on task, encourage a group to continue when stumbled, etc. Archer-Kath et al. (1994) state "for cooperative learning groups to be productive, members must ask each other for information, give each other information, ask for and give each other help when they need it, and support and praise each other's efforts to learn" (p. 6). Additionally, as noted above, students often need direct modeling with regard to how to handle conflict or disagreements in a group setting.

The final component, group processing, plays a crucial role in cooperative learning situations. It is essential for individual students and groups to be self-reflective, to think about what went well and ways to improve. It is important that students reflect on what each individual student did well and what each student can do to make the process better in the future. Equally as important is for the group to reflect on overall group dynamics and how positive or negative interactions affected the overall performance of the group.

Slavin (1995) proposed slightly different criteria for cooperative learning situations including group goals, individual accountability, equal opportunities for success, team competition, task specialization, and adaptation to individual needs. Although mildly different, this format for the development of cooperative learning opportunities also emphasizes individual and group effort/accountability, social interactions among group members, and the critical importance of feedback and rewards for both individuals and groups.

One of the main objectives of our education system is to prepare our students to interact in an ever more diverse society, to learn to work with a variety of individual strengths and weaknesses, to respect differences, and to embrace multiculturalism. Across many parts of the world, the student population is becoming increasingly diverse, bringing to classrooms divergent racial, ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic experiences (Mills & Keddie, 2012). Cooperative learning aims to create situations within the classroom in which students apply the social skills necessary to successfully interact and contribute to future society. Siciliano (2001) states that teams are becoming an ever more popular form of job design. This paradigm shift represents a significant change in organizational management and clearly identifies for K-12 education the critical importance of instructional design that includes ample opportunities for cooperative learning.

Applications Cooperative Learning Applied in the K-12 Classroom Heterogeneous, Homogeneous

Heterogeneous, homogeneous and random grouping strategies are used to develop cooperative learning teams. When creating heterogeneous groups, teachers may look to develop teams with students of different ability levels, interests, learning styles, races, language proficiencies, personalities or other characteristics. The main objective behind heterogeneous groups is to develop a team of students who bring different skill sets, backgrounds or perspectives in order to foster meaningful dialogue and interactions. Homogeneous groups, in contrast, are created with students of the same ability, interests, learning styles, races, language proficiencies, personalities or characteristics. Certain curriculum objectives lend themselves more easily to students of similar aptitudes or characteristics working together to achieve a common goal. The development of both heterogeneous and homogeneous groups requires pre-planning on behalf of the classroom teacher. Should such pre-planning not be required for a particular curriculum objective, teachers may opt to develop cooperative learning teams through random grouping strategies. For example, teachers may randomly pull student names out of a hat, have students count-off from one to five, or even allow students to choose their own groups.

Research tends to indicate that heterogeneous groups are the most beneficial for cooperative learning situations because they represent a range of varied abilities, ethnicities, backgrounds, interests, and other characteristics (Slavin, 1995). If we expect our students to be able to thrive in a demanding society where they need to fully appreciate and understand how to work with and get along with individuals who differ, educators need to provide students with ample opportunities to interact in heterogeneous groups. Although heterogeneous groups are ideal for cooperative learning situations, teachers may find that a particular learning objective can best be achieved by students in a homogeneous or randomly assigned group. Simply because a group is not heterogeneous does not imply that it does not qualify as a cooperative learning situation.

Common Cooperative Learning Models (K-12)

One of the most commonly used forms of cooperative learning in the classroom setting is STAD - Student Teams-Achievement Divisions (Slavin, 1999). Using this methodology, teachers present a concept to the entire class and then develop heterogeneous groups of four to five students who then work on concept-specific worksheets as a team. Groups are evaluated on individual score improvements on quizzes as compared to past performance. An alternative application, TGT - Teams-Games-Tournaments utilizes the same structure as STAD, but replaces individual quizzes with game-like tournaments to increase student engagement. Again, individual performance is benchmarked against past performance in order to assess achievement gains (Slavin, 1999).

Jigsaw (Aronson et al. 1978) is another popular methodology employed in classroom settings across grade levels and disciplines. In the Jigsaw method, heterogeneous base groups are developed and each student is expected to become an "expert" on a certain amount of content specific material. To facilitate meaningful discussion, the original base groups are broken into "expert" teams comprising one individual from each base group. Students in the newly made up "expert" teams all receive the same information and work together to brainstorm best possible ways to teach the information to their original base group. The experts then return to their original group and teach the information to their group mates. Each individual student is quizzed and either receives an individual grade or contributes to an overall group score.

Group Investigation (Sharan & Sharan, 1992) is yet another popular methodology employed in a variety of classroom settings. When using this application, teachers allow students to choose their own two to six member groups. Students are provided with the freedom to choose from among a variety of sub-topics within a unit of study and are then given the autonomy to break down the sub-topic into individual tasks to be carried out by individual group.

(The entire section is 5123 words.)

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