In particular, they specify the need for students to be good listeners, team players, and to make compromises to work toward mutual goals (Scheuerell, 2010).
Group work must be a time for students to engage in productive and accountable collaboration around a task or problem that causes them to rely on one another's part or participation to ensure successful completion. Successful group work can be designed and presented to the students, following three principles. The first, and most obvious, characteristic of successful group work is to design tasks that cause students to talk with one another, to hear how their peers approach the content and then to be able to compare this with their own approach. Second, the task must provide a stimulus question or problem that causes students to cooperate as they formulate, share, and compare ideas with one another. Finally, all tasks should be broad enough to involve both individual and group accountability (Vaca, Lapp, & Fisher, 2011).
Successful group work can be designed and presented to the students, following three principles. The first, and most obvious, characteristic of successful group work is to design tasks that cause students to talk with one another, to hear how their peers approach the content and then to be able to compare this with their own approach. Second, the task must provide a stimulus question or problem that causes students to cooperate as they formulate, share, and compare ideas with one another. Finally, all tasks should be broad enough to involve both individual and group accountability (Vaca, Lapp, & Fisher, 2011).
This article provides ideas and sample projects for project-based learning (PBL) and describes assessment methods such as rubrics, reflective self-evaluation, peer evaluations, and portfolio assessment. The author gives advice on designing PBL projects across the curriculum and offers strategies for facilitating collaboration among students. There is also material on scaffolding the learning process to differentiate instruction, and on initiating school wide PBL instructional approaches (Project-based learning; differentiating instruction for the 21st century, 2012).
Cooperative learning has been proven to be helpful in enhancing the learning performance of students. The goal of a cooperative learning group is to make the most of all members' learning, which is accomplished by way of promoting each other's achievement, through assisting, sharing, mentoring, explaining, and encouragement. To accomplish the goal of cooperative learning, it is very significant to organize well-structured cooperative learning groups, in which all group members have the capability to help each other throughout the learning process. A concept-based approach is projected to organize cooperative learning groups, such that, for a given course each idea is precisely understood by at least one of the students in each group (Tsai, Hwang, Tseng, & Hwang, 2008).
In a study done by Siegel (2005), the author used qualitative research methods in order to explore an 8th-grade mathematics teacher's personal meaning of cooperative learning and the performance of cooperative learning in his classroom according to that definition. Data collection involved interviews and classroom observations. The author used coding schemes and descriptive statistics for data reduction and analysis. Constructivist psychology provided the theoretical groundwork for conclusions based on reliability across interview and observational data. Results discovered that while the teacher put into practice a research-based model of cooperative-learning instruction, he adapted the model for use in his classroom.
In past decades, cooperative learning researchers have shown that positive peer relationships are an essential element of success during the learning process, and isolation and alienation will possibly lead to failure. Hundreds of relevant studies have been conducted to compare the effectiveness of cooperative, competitive, and individualistic efforts by a wide variety of researchers in different decades using many different methods. Results have shown cooperation among students typically results in higher achievement and greater productivity, more caring, supportive, and committed relationships, and greater psychological health, social competence, and self-esteem. Even though many researchers have proposed a variety of cooperation learning methods, and have defined various constraints on achieving the expected results, there are however, many complex human factors that cannot be fully controlled during the cooperative learning process, including the construction of cooperative learning groups and the designed activities for the promoting of constructive cooperation, which all are known to be difficult without proper aid (Tsai, Hwang, Tseng, & Hwang, 2008).
One area in which cooperative leaning has been shown to be very effective is in that of language learning. The single greatest advantage of cooperative learning over traditional classroom organization for the acquisition of language was the amount of language output allowed per student. The amount of student talk could be maximized through activities that involve pair work and group work, as these would engage all the students in speaking. Further interaction occurs in group discussion and peer checking of worksheets, since students exchange ideas and make corrections or improvements in collaboration instead of individual learning. Language acquisition is fostered by output that was functional and communicative, frequent, redundant, and consistent with the identity of the speaker. The more opportunities for the students to employ the target language to negotiate meaning, the more they were expected to acquire communicative competence (Liang, 2002).
Conclusions & Implications
In today's society, teachers must be concerned with both curriculum content and the procedure of instructional delivery. Specifically teachers must know what to teach and how to adjust their instruction to the students' levels of knowledge. They must inspire students to learn, administer student behavior, group students for instruction, and evaluate the students' learning. The mixture of curriculum selection and instructional delivery makes up effective instruction.
Cooperative learning is an instructional representation that draws at length on the contributions of multiple theorists. It is founded on the idea that formal instruction by expert adults is less effectual as a cognitive development incentive than is peer-mediated instruction. Specifically children's skills to systematize patterns of behavior and thought as they prepare and interact with their environment, parents, teachers, and peer groups develop more swiftly when children interrelate with one another than when they interact with adults.
Well planned instruction is like a magnet that if aimed somewhat ahead of what children know and can do at the present time, it will pull them along. It helps them to master things they otherwise could not learn on their own. Children learn more from instructional relations with those who are more academically advanced. Even though this approach might seem to favor a high degree of direct instruction from an expert educator, cooperative learning theorists are supportive of many facets of cooperative learning, specifically the use of demanding assignments, peer modelling, positive reinforcement, regular feedback, and strategies for helping students organize and understand things.
It is generally asserted that cooperative learning is the best option for all students because it emphasizes active interaction between students of diverse abilities and backgrounds and demonstrates more positive student outcomes in academic achievement, social behavior, and affective development. Cooperative learning is a system of teaching and learning techniques in which students were active agents in the process of learning instead of passive receivers of the product of any given knowledge. This system increases students' academic learning as well as personal growth because (1) it reduces learning anxiety, (2) it increases the amount of student participation and student talk in the target language, (3) it builds supportive and less threatening learning environment, and (4) it helps the rate of learning retention.
In addition to cooperative learning's positive effect on student achievement, it has also been found to considerably affect interpersonal relations. "As relationships within the class or college become more positive, absenteeism decreases and students' commitment to learning, feeling of personal responsibility to complete the assigned work, willingness to take on difficult tasks, motivation and persistence in working on tasks, satisfaction and morale, willingness to endure pain and frustration to succeed, willingness to defend the college against external criticism or attack, willingness to listen to and be influenced by peers, commitment to peer's success and growth, and productivity and achievement can be expected to increase"(Mills, n.d).
Overall the benefits that cooperative learning brings to the classroom are many. It appears that it is very beneficial to students on both an academic level as well as a social level. It fosters students to learn in an environment in which they feel comfortable. It is well-known that children relate better to other children. By using cooperative learning techniques such as small group instruction and peer review there is a better opportunity for students to connect with and learn from their peers.
In today's educational arena there are many students who struggle with their writing skills, which in turn lead to them, struggling in other academic areas as well. The utilization of cooperative learning is one method that teachers have at their disposal to help these students to achieve better writing skills so that they can become better learners overall and more successful in their overall academic careers. If cooperative learning is used in just one subject area it…