Cooperative Learning Theory Research Papers
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Cooperative learning is a direct system controlled by the instructor and designed for the success of students. The theory of cooperative learning is that which accomplishes an explicit goal via a teacher-centered approach. The theoretical groundwork cooperative learning is to adhere to specific structures set forth by the professor; the instructor sustains complete control of the class, albeit student interaction.
The premise for this theory is through the erection of knowledge by students. In other words, a process unfolds through cooperative learning. Student’s process material when the teacher approaches instruction as follows:
- Asks directed questions
- Requires students to work as groups
- Encourages students to analyze the material being studied and present to the class.
According to Kagan, the role of the professor is to guide the class through controlled measures during each step of learning.
Cooperative learning theory is based upon the development, assessment, and systematic solicitation of content and structure. Cooperative learning is another term used to maintain structure and social organization within the classroom. Within the classroom, structure is consistent, regardless of the subject being taught, as this model supports the use of uniformity and consistency; objectives driven solely by the teacher. Perhaps a new paradigm of instruction, however, cooperative learning theory is driven by the constructive nature of epistemology. The cooperative nature of instruction is supported by the application of continuous and consistent refinement of procedures designed to accomplish cooperative learning.
Cooperative learning is group oriented, activity based learning that ensures a socially derived exchange of information is passed between the different groups and individuals within a group. An additional component of social accountability is accounted for in cooperative learning techniques because the success of the group is dependent on the individual success within each learning activity. This approach has been widely embraced within the educational system because it places more of the responsibility for the learning process onto the individual learner and the class as a whole.
Cooperative learning theory has its roots in the collaborative learning model that reached its height in the 1990s. While in many respects essentially the same, the cooperative learning model involves more of a group operational component: “Cooperative learning refers to the instructional use of small groups in which students work together to accomplish meaningful school tasks”. Collaborative learning on the other hand, while acknowledging the benefit of the group, places its emphasis on broader group dimensions such as parents, educators, administrators, and/or members of the community. Beside the students as one dimension, there are the educators in another, and all other parties tend to be lumped together in a group collectively called the “outsiders”. While collaborative learning recognizes the need to involve the greater community as well as the students themselves in the education process it does not necessarily know which way is the most effective or efficient. Cooperative learning theory and practice solves this problem.
Cooperative learning, otherwise defined as a group learning activity where the learners are motivated to learn through a social structure that encourages a kind of individual responsibility to the group to master learning content, has as its primary goal: “for students to help each other succeed academically. Group structures in CL typically have three to four students and...are said to be appropriate for all ages, subject areas, and types of students because...most people love to socialize...". In fact, this scenario, in the context of a learning environment has proven to be ideal for second language acquisition because of this social component. Yet, cooperative learning has even been shown to be ideal in other educational settings such as the special education classroom where one might find a diverse mix of abilities and/or disabilities. Cooperative learning has even been applied to what has traditionally been conceived of as an individual activity composition: “Cooperative learning activities...can reinforce the idea that writing is a social rather than an individual activity. One approach is to use cooperative learning groups that provide peer feedback on drafts of student papers”. Cooperative learning practices are found in as unlikely settings as an email-based EFL program in Hong Kong where the cooperative aspect is established through the formation of workgroup type structures within the classroom mediated via email with remotely located peers. These diverse types of applications in the group oriented cooperative learning model are typical rather than the exception because the group aspect encourages target language use among one’s peers in a non-pressure setting. Educators in the field have been responsible for much of this spread of cooperative learning because of its wide application and its ability to raise the participation levels of the students. Some educators find that combining cooperative learning with other learning theories, such as project-based teaching is even more effective at elevating content acquisition; especially in relation to foreign or second language study. Lake and Pappamihiel (2003) point out that Florida actually requires all teachers not only be trained in ESL techniques but that some of those techniques are cooperative learning techniques. Most relevant to the present research is that cooperative learning is ideally suited to the Asian population, and specifically, the Chinese ELL population because it has a cultural tendency to be reserved in a public setting or to otherwise refrain from over expression; both of which are desired qualities in ELL activities