Elements of Cooperative Learning

Topics: Learning, Education, Skill Pages: 11 (2055 words) Published: July 4, 2013
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5 Basic Elements of Cooperative Learning

Explanataion of the 5 Basic Elements of Cooperative Learning "Just because you put students in groups doesn't mean they'll work as a team."

The first and most important element in structuring cooperative learning is positive interdependence.

Positive interdependence is successfully structured when group members perceive that they are linked with each other in a way that one cannot succeed unless everyone succeeds. Group goals and tasks, therefore, must be designed and communicated to students in ways that make them believe they sink or swim together. When positive interdependence is solidly structured, it highlights that (a) each group member's efforts are required and indispensable for group success and (b) each group member has a unique contribution to make to the joint effort because of his or her resources and/or role and task responsibilities. Doing so creates a commitment to the success of group members as well as one's own and is the heart of cooperative learning. If there is no positive interdependence, there is no cooperation.

The nine ways in which positive interdependence can be structured are as follows: 1. Goal interdependence-The group has a common goal and every member of the team is expected to achieve it. 2. Incentive interdependence-Everyone receives the same reward but only if every member of the team succeeds. 3. Resource interdependence-Resources, information, and material are limited so that students are obliged to work together and cooperate in sharing available resources. 4. Sequence interdependence-The overall task is divided into a sequence of subtasks. Individual group members perform their particular tasks as part of a predetermined order. 5. Role interdependence-Each group member is assigned a role with specific responsibilities. Each role contributes to and supports the task's completion. 6. Identity interdependence-The group establishes a mutual identity through a name, flag, logo, or symbol. These can be augmented by a group song or cheer. 7. Outside force interdependence-The group, as a whole, competes against other groups. 8. Simulation interdependence-The group members imagine that they are in a situation or role where they must collaborate to be successful. 9. Environmental interdependence-The group members work together within a specified physical space, such as a section of the classroom.

Instructor's Actions
* Set up tasks which cannot be completed without input from each team member * Reflect on the 9 positive interdependencies and how they can be incorporated into the lesson Avoid:
* Allowing one student to be carried by the others
* Allowing one student to do the work for the group
* Holding up one person or group as "best"

The second basic element of cooperative learning is promotive interaction, preferably face-to-face.

Students need to do real work together in which they promote each other's success by sharing resources and helping, supporting, encouraging, and applauding each other's efforts to achieve. There are important cognitive activities and interpersonal dynamics that can only occur when students promote each other's learning. This includes orally explaining how to solve problems, teaching one's knowledge to others, checking for understanding, discussing concepts being learned, and connecting present with past learning. Each of those activities can be structured into group task directions and procedures. Doing so helps ensure that cooperative learning groups are both an academic support system (every student has someone who is committed...
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