Cooperative Learning


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A slideshow explaining theories behind cooperative learning, as well as practical applications in a regular classroom. Presented within the context of inclusion. For more information and for a complete list of references, please see

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  • First we are going to classify cooperative learning, so that we can figure out strategies for using it in a regular classroom.
  • Cooperative Learning

    1. 1. Cooperativelearning for Inclusion
    2. 2. Part I: DefinitionLimitations Benefits
    3. 3. What isCooperative Learning?
    4. 4. Collaboration occurs “through structuredinteraction in small groups. It involvesstudents cooperating to achieve a sharedoutcome.” (Deppler et al., 2011, p. 183)
    5. 5. Aha!!Cooperativelearning, whenproperlyimplemented, canbe an essentialapproach for theinclusive classroom.
    6. 6. YES,Chris!
    7. 7. However,I’ve heard that cooperative learning has limits!
    8. 8. “Although cooperation is a very important ability for students to master, many of life‟s activities are based on individual effort. Therefore, students have to learn to be self-reliant as well as learn how to cooperate.(Killen, 2009,p.219). ”
    9. 9. “ Some students do not like to learncooperatively; they prefer to work alone. Theseare Internals- students who prefer to apply theirintelligence to things or ideas in isolation fromother people. It is important to realize that suchstudents do not necessarily lack ability and thatthey are not necessarily trying to be disruptivethrough their lack of cooperation.These learners may be anxious working in groups.”(Killen, 2009,p.219).
    10. 10. “The values and practices of cultural,socioeconomic and educationalworlds that some studentsexperienced prior to being involved incooperative learning may createconflict.”( Killen, 2009,p.219).
    11. 11. YES,You might be right.
    12. 12. However, cooperative learninghas a lot more benefits than limitations.
    13. 13. Self-esteem REALLY??
    14. 14. Cooperative learning can change students’ views aboutlearning. It helps them to move from seeing learning asindividual memorization of facts to seeing it as a collectiveconstruction of understanding.By encouraging students to explore and discuss theirunderstandings, cooperative learning helps them develop adeep understanding of course content (Killen, 2009).
    15. 15. 3. It encourages students to think about their learning processes, identify the limitations of their knowledge and learn to seek. It is particularly suited to large problem-solving tasks and search projects in which there is more work to be carried out than one person can reasonably be expected to do in the available time, or where more than one person is needed to manipulate equipment, perform experiments or collect and analyze data (Killen, 2009).
    16. 16. Cooperation teaches students to beless reliant on the teacher and morereliant on their own ability to think,to seek information from othersources and to learn from otherstudents (Killen, 2009).
    17. 17. • .• . When compared with lecture and discussion activities, cooperative learning can lead to students being frustrated less often, getting confused less often, feeling more intellectually challenged, feeling more actively involved in learning and looking forward to class more often (Killen, 2009).
    18. 18. Cooperative learning emphasizes democraticthought and practice as a desirable way for peopleto interact. (Killen, 2009)
    19. 19. WAITONE MORE.
    20. 20. Cooperative learning ensures that all students aresocially integrated into networks of positive peerrelationships. This can lead to reductions inantisocial behavior such as bullying. Killen, 2009
    21. 21. Yes, we can!
    22. 22. Tom’s story• Tom is in his second year of high school. He has an intellectual disability, and although he could participate in most activities, he had difficulties organizing his routines, such as locating the books he needed for each class and understanding instructions. It was not long before his teachers realized that unless they acted, he would always be late for lessons and unfortunately, the target of peer ridicule and jokes.• Tom was sociable and well liked by his peers because of his easy-going manner, so his teachers arranged for him to be included in various cooperative learning groups that they established in their classes. (Gillies, 2007, p. 3)
    23. 23. Whathappened to Tom?
    24. 24. • This enabled Tom to work in small supportive groups in which he could take risks with his learning that he would find too intimidating in a larger class. His peers encouraged his participation and ensured, like others in his groups, that he undertook specific roles. These included helping organize resources, act as the media manager for a PowerPoint presentation of a group‟s work, present his ideas on a topic through different media, and work with his peers to bring the project or activity they were working on to fruition.• The opportunity to make meaningful contributions enhanced Tom‟s self- confidence and increased his status among his peers as they realized he was able to make worthwhile contributions to his group.
    25. 25. Tom‟s case is not unique.
    26. 26. 1. Achievement 2. Social skill development 3. Peer acceptance Putnam,2009; Killen,2009
    27. 27. 1. AchievementCooperative learning (as comparedwith individualistic and competitivelearning) increases the academicachievement and social acceptance ofstudents with disabilities (Putnam,2009).
    28. 28. Cooperative learning for studentswith moderate and severe disabilitiesis also positive: greater academicgains comparable to competitive andindividualistic situations, greaterinterpersonal attraction, and higherlevels of socially interactivebehaviors. (Putnam, 1998)
    29. 29. Selecting challenging, multilevel tasks that promote learning andgrowth at different levels is a key to success in cooperativelearning and inclusive education.Cooperative tasks provide opportunities for all students to workat their own levels while still pursuing a common goal (Killen,2009).
    30. 30. 2. Social skill developmentCooperative learning provides anideal context for social skilldevelopment. It is throughinterpersonal interactions thatstudents observe, perform, andreceive feedback on social behaviors,which makes cooperative learningparticularly beneficial for studentswith learning and behavior problems(Putnam,2009).
    31. 31. 3. Peeracceptance
    32. 32. Over forty research found that attitudes towardsstudents with disabilities were more positive inclassrooms using cooperative learning (Johnson & Johnson,1989).
    33. 33. It provides opportunities for learners to see that theirindividual differences in abilities, backgrounds, cultures and experiences are valued and respected, and can be accommodated in learning tasks and contexts.• It helps students to learn respect for one another’s strength and limitations and to accept these differences. This is very important in culturally diverse classrooms and in classrooms that include students with disabilities. Putnam,2009; Killen,2009
    34. 34. Thanks, TaeHee.I, finally, understand whycooperation is important for inclusion.But could you explain its key features, Nicole?
    35. 35. Part 2:Key features
    36. 36. The Australian Government considers that all people withdisabilities have the right to participate as fully as possible incommunity life and is committed to increasing fair access toeducation and training for all groups.Australian Government’s Disability Standards for Education Policy 2005 (C) Commonwealth Government Barton ACT
    37. 37. One way to ensure equality in education is to promote co-operative learning.
    38. 38. What are thekey features of cooperative learning?
    39. 39. Everybody likes a piece of pie.
    40. 40. Positiveinterdependence Individual accountability Equal participation Simultaneous interaction Kagan, 2012
    41. 41. Positive interdependence Individual accountability Face-to-face promotive interaction Interpersonal & small group skills Group processing Johnson and Johnson, ? cooperative-learning.html
    42. 42. (The Foundation Colatiion, Date unknown)
    43. 43. Self-esteem PLEASE EXPLAIN!
    44. 44. First, 2 words on group size.• Group should not be too large or too small. It is suggested that students work in groups of four or five (Beihler/Snowman). • Group must contain variety.
    45. 45. Positive interdependence / Group goals• Each student plays a part in obtaining the major goal.• Reward students.• Promote resource interdependence.• Task or sequence interdependence (Felder and Brent).
    46. 46. 9 ways to structure positive interdependence1. Positive goal interdependence2. Positive reward interdependence3. Positive resource interdependence4. Positive role interdependence5. Positive identity interdependence6. Positive environmental interdependence7. Positive fantasy interdependence8. Positive task interdependence9. Positive outside enemy interdependenceAnon. chart found at PDST Co-Operative Learning Website
    47. 47. Face to face promotive interaction• Students are shown how to help each other overcome problems.• This can be done through peer tutoring, exchanges of information, temporary assistance from the teacher, challenging of feedback given by others, feedback and encouraging one another. (Beihler/Snowman)
    48. 48. Individual accountability• Students need to be accountable for their contributions to ensure they are not „sponging‟ off others.• This could be demonstrated by each member having a set task (Warning! Don‟t delegate into isolated parts).
    49. 49. Social skills• Positive interdependence and promotive interaction are not likely to occur if students do not know how to make the most of their face-to-face interactions.• Students have to be taught such basic skills as leadership, decision making, trust building, clear communication, and conflict management.• It can destroy group cohesion and productivity if it results in students stubbornly clinging to a position or referring to each other as "stubborn," "dumb," or "nerdy”. (Beihler and Snowman)
    50. 50. Group processing• Group should work together on tasks.• Need specific time set aside to work together.• Teacher to choose skills and outcomes.• Groups need feedback, time for reflection, and celebration when outcome is achieved successfully.
    52. 52. Equal opportunities for success• Students will not participate fully if they feel that they will not be as successful or welcomed into the group as others.• Teacher needs to ensure that everyone is participating.
    53. 53. Team competition• Hardly ever used appropriately.• When competition occurs between well-matched competitors, is done in the absence of a norm-referenced grading system, and is not used too frequently, it can be an effective way to motivate students to cooperate with each other. (Beihler/Snowman)
    54. 54. 1. Avoid grading on a curve. 2. Avoid tasks that can be easily delegated. 3. Avoid group grades. 4. Avoid long term unmanaged projects. 5. Avoid mid-term start
    55. 55. 1. Avoid grading on a curve.• “Traditional norm-referenced grading…defeats the purpose of cooperative strategies and focuses on having students compete against one another for scarce commodities”.• Use “a criterion-referenced grading procedure based on actual performance of individual mastery of course content and understanding”. (Whimbey and Lockhead)
    56. 56. 2. Avoid tasks that can be easily delegated.• Task gets broken up and students end up working individually.• Leads to unhappiness about how the work has been divided.• Examples: essays and writing tasks.
    57. 57. Why tasks should not be delegated“When the rational way to complete a task is to „delegate‟ the work to individualmembers, that is exactly what will happen. Delegating commonly occurs in twosituations. One situation is when the assignments are too easy (i.e., group interactionisn‟t needed). In this case, one member will simply act on behalf of the group. Theother situation occurs when the task requires a great deal of writing. Since writing isinherently an individual activity, the only real group activity will be deciding how todivide up the work. When group members work independently, cohesiveness is reducedfor at least two reasons. The first reason is that some members always feel like they arehaving to do more than their fair share (and in most cases, they probably are correct).The other reason is that, depending on the group‟s performance, the top students arelikely to resent having to choose between carrying their less able or less motivated peersor risk getting a low grade.”(Michaelsen, Fink and Knight)
    58. 58. 3. Avoid group grades.• Tempts some students to rely on others whom they feel will score higher than themselves• Decreases individual accountability• Rewards freeloaders
    59. 59. 4. Avoid long term unmanaged projects.• These do not teach students time management skills.• Students waste time.
    60. 60. 5. Avoid mid term start.• Students do not like changes to the “rules of the game” once they have expectations of how the course works.• Start co-operative tasks at the beginning of the term.
    61. 61. Part 3:Use in a regular classroom
    62. 62. What’s at least one way of classifying cooperative learning?
    63. 63. Cooperativelearning can be informal or formal.
    64. 64. "One way to ensure equality in education is topromote cooperative learning.” (Nicole Elliott, previous slide!)Which of the following statements supports this? A. Students should be divided by ability for cooperative learning. B. Cooperative learning is as difficult to achieve as equality. C. Cooperative learning can be used as a strategy for inclusion.
    65. 65. • Informal coopertive learninggroups are formed suddenly, withoutcareful planning, for a brief task, andare then dispersed (Wankat andOreovicz, 1994).• “Such groups are useful in themiddle of a lecture, to assign studentsa task such as solving a problem,answering a complicated question, ordeveloping a question for thelecturer” (Ajayi & Ajayi, 2009, p.129).
    66. 66. Benefits of informal cooperativelearning groups:• Engender a more cooperative classatmosphere.• A perfect break for when students‟attention falters.• Gives students an opportunity topractice team work.• A good way for teacher to beginexperimenting with cooperativelearning. (Ajayi & Ajayi, 2009)
    67. 67. Informal cooperative learning strategy• Following a 15 minute discussion, teacher posts up a multiple choice question. Students discuss an answer with neighboring students. After 1-2 minutes, students lift a flashcard corresponding to the answer.• Benefits: • Facilitates active learning, 100% participation and collaborative learning, even in large classes. • Students can immediately assess their understanding. • Teacher can instantly assess student understanding. (Ajayi & Ajayi, 2009)
    68. 68. The definition of formal cooperativelearning is implied in the definition ofinformal cooperative learning.Informal cooperative Formal cooperativelearning learning(Wankat & Oreovic,1994)Formed without careful Formed with carefulplanning planningFor a short term task For a longer term taskCreated suddenly and Has a longer life spanthen broken up
    69. 69. Formal cooperative learning,therefore implies a sense ofstructure:• “Through a simple sequence of steps we could structure the interaction of students toward specific outcomes” because “unstructured interaction in a group, especially a heterogeneous group, almost always leads to unequal participation” (Kagan, 2003, para 14).• In other words, the outcome we would like to achieve is that of equal participation, therefore we need to structure for that outcome (Kagan, 2003).
    70. 70. Implementing specific strategies andsteps helps create a safe, accepting,respecting environment in which all students, even those with learning challenges, feel confident to shareknowledge (Jones & Sterling, 2011).
    71. 71. (The Foundation Colatiion, Date unknown)
    72. 72. Team formation• “Cooperative learning groups should be heterogeneous in gender, race, economic status, and ability in order to take advantage of the benefits associated with group diversity” (Dyson & Grienski, 2001).• Start with pairs because they • Are simpler to manage (Dyson & Grienski, 2001). • Facilitate enhanced communication, maximum participation and more possibility for practicing social skills (Dyson & Grienski, 2001). • Transition effortlessly into larger groups (Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec, 1998).
    73. 73. Positive interdependence / Group goals• “Positive interdependence occurs when each group member learns to depend on the rest of the group as they all work together to complete a task” (Dyson & Grienski, 2001).• Clearly define roles of group members, ensure that all group members participate so that everybody can contribute to learning process. This way everybody feels valued, even those who need to develop their interpersonal skills. This is one of the key reasons that cooperative learning works well in an inclusive classroom (Van Dyke, Stallings, & Colley, 1995).
    74. 74. Individual accountability“Because individual student learning is a desired resultof cooperative learning, it is essential that individualstudents demonstrate what they have learned as a resultof participating in cooperative activities” (Dyson &Grienski, 2001).
    75. 75. Face to face promotive interaction• Teachers need to verbalize, model and reinforce the social skills needed to achieve a goal.• Which of the following did I just model? • Listen? • Provide feedback? • Resolve conflict? • Encourage others? • Take turns? • Express enjoyment in success? (Dyson & Grienski, 2001)
    76. 76. Group processing• The time allotted, after a learning task, to discuss whether members are achieving goals and maintaining successful working relationships.• Benefits of group processing: • Students can express themselves. • Teacher can provide relevant and specific feedback. • Helps ensure accountability. (Dyson & Grienski, 2001)
    77. 77. What‟s thisRoundRobin thing?
    78. 78. • “RoundRobin is a simple, time- honored way of structuring interaction” (Kagan, 2003, para 5).• “This RoundRobin structure dramatically alters the participation and learning among students compared to unstructured group discussion. Structures allow us to create desired outcomes. Or, put another way, we structure for the outcomes we desire” (Kagan, 2003, para 14).
    79. 79. 1. Goal 2. Strategy 3. Benefits
    80. 80. 1. GoalTo assess comprehension of a specificconcept using groups of 4(Jones & Sterling, 2011).Groups should be heterogeneous innature (recall the concept of teamformation). Remember to clearlydefine roles of each member so thatpositive interdependence can occur.
    81. 81. 2. StrategyTeacher or student poses a question. Everyone in groupgets a chance to answer question. Use a manipulative forvisual aid. Teacher can choose struggling student to bethe last in the round robin, so that they have a chance tolearn from others, or to be the first, so that re-teachingcan occur if necessary (Jones & Sterling, 2011).These are all ways of having everyone contribute to thelearning process, working together to complete a task(positive interdependence).Think about the concept of positive social interactionskills throughout the process. That is, verbalize, modeland reinforce social skills (Dyson & Grienski, 2001).
    82. 82. 3. BenefitsAll students get a chance to participate in active learning(Jones & Sterling, 2011). Ensure individual accountabilityafter the activity (e.g. summarize points discussed).
    83. 83. TroubleshootingStudents with special needs may not feel comfortable sharinganswers at first, so you may need to use RoundRobin on a“fun” exercise so that students develop confidence beforehaving to deal with real problem (Jones & Sterling, 2011).
    84. 84. Thank you
    85. 85. ReferencesAjayi, I. A., & Ajayi, O. B. (2009). Cooperative Learning Strategies for Effective Teaching and Learning Science Courses in Large Classes. In A. Cartelli,& M. Palma (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Information Communication Technology (pp. 127-131). doi:10.4018/978-1-59904-845-1.ch017Australian Government’s Disability Standards for Education Policy (2005) (C) Commonwealth Government Barton ACTBiehler/Snowman, PSYCHOLOGY APPLIED TO TEACHING, 8/e, (1997), Houghton Mifflin Co. (Chapters 4 & 11). As viewed online at, R and Field, R (1994) Positive Interdependence, Individual Accountability, Promotive Interaction: Three Pillars of Cooperative Learning asaccessed at, B., & Grineski, S. (2001). Using cooperative learning structures in physical education. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance,72(2), 28-31.Foundation Coalition (date unknown). Positive Interdependence, Individual Accountability, Promotive Interaction: Three Pillars of CooperativeLearning. Retrieved from, R, M (2007). Cooperative learning: Integrating theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA : Sage PublicationsJohnson, D., Johnson, R. & Holubec, E. (1998).Cooperation in the classroom. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Johnson, D. & Johnson, R. (2003) Assessing students in groups: Promoting group responsibility and individual accountability. Thousand Oaks, CA:SageJohnson, D. & Johnson, R. (1989) Cooperation and competition: Theory and Research. Edina, MN: Interaction Books.Jones, T. & Sterling, D.R. (2011). Cooperative learning in an inclusive science classroom. Science Scope 35(3), 24-28.Kagan, S. (2003). A brief history of Kagan structures. Retrieved from