Pros And Cons Of Cooperative Learning

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There are four general theoretical perspectives (Slavin, 1995) that have guided research on co-operative learning, namely, (a) motivational, (b) social cohesion, (c) cognitive-developmental and (d) cognitive-elaboration.
1. Motivational Perspective : Motivational perspectives on co-operative learning focus primarily on the reward or goal structures under which students operate (Slavin, 1977, 1983a, 1995). The motivational perspective presumes that task motivation is the single most powerful part of the learning process, proclaiming that the other processes such as planning and helping are determined by individuals’ motivated self-interest. Motivational researchers focus especially on the reward or goal structure under which students operate,
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The motivational critique of traditional classroom organisation holds that the competitive grading and informal reward system of the classroom creates peer norms opposing academic efforts (Coleman, 1961). Since one student's success decreases the chances that others will succeed, students are likely to prompt norms that high achievement is for "nerds" or teachers' pets. Such work restriction norms are familiar in industry, where the "rate buster" is scorned by his or her fellow workers (Vroom, 1969). However, by having students work together toward a common goal, they may be motivated to express norms favouring academic achievement, to reinforce each other for academic efforts. Thus, motivational theorists build group rewards into their co-operative learning methods. In methods developed by Slavin (1994, 1995), students can earn certificates or other recognition if their average team scores on quizzes or other individual assignments exceed a pre-established criterion (Kagan, 1992). Methods developed by Johnson and Johnson (1994) and their colleagues at the University of Minnesota often give students grades based on group performance, which is defined in several different ways. The…show more content…
Use of group goals or group rewards augments the achievement outcomes of co-operative learning if and only if the group rewards are based on the individual learning of all group members (Slavin, 1995). Most often, this means that team scores are computed based on average scores on tests/quizzes which all teammates take individually, without teammates’ help. For instance, in Student Teams Achievement Divisions, or STAD (Slavin, 1994), students work in mixed-ability groups to master material initially presented by the teacher. Following this, students take individual tests/quizzes on the material and the teams may receive grades based on the degree to which team members have improved over their own past performance. For this, it is essential to ensure that all team members have learned, they explain concepts to each other, help each other practice and encourage each other to achieve. On the other hand, if group rewards are given on the basis of a single group outcome/performance such as the team completing one worksheet or solving one problem, there is little motivation for group members to explain concepts to each other and one or two group members may do all the work (Slavin, 1995). Slavin

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