Social Cohesion Theory

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Empirical Evidence for the Social Cohesion Perspective : The achievement outcomes of co-operative learning methods that accentuate task specialisation are imprecise. Research on the original form of Jigsaw has not found positive effects of this method on student achievement in general (Slavin, 1995). However, students have limited exposure to material other than that which they studied themselves, so learning gains on their own topics may be compensated by losses on their group-mates' topics. In contrast, there is evidence that when it is well implemented, group investigation can significantly increase student achievement (Sharan & Shachar, 1988). In studies of at least four weeks' duration, the Johnson's (1994) methods have not been found…show more content…
The major alternative to these two perspectives is the cognitive perspective, which proclaims that interactions among students will in themselves increase student achievement on account of mental processing of information rather than with motivation. Co-operative methods developed by cognitive theorists involve neither the group goals that are the foundation of the motivational methods nor the emphasis on building group cohesiveness characteristic of the social cohesion perspective. However, there are two major cognitive perspectives. Cognitive theory explores how the process of thinking and learning occurs by considering the working of the human mind. Cognitive perspectives imply that mutual interaction between students with “the mental processing of the information rather than with motivations” (Slavin, 1996 : 48) will improve students’ academic achievement. The two perspectives, namely, cognitive development and elaboration are discussed in the following paragraphs to examine comprehensively their effects on student learning. The two cognitive perspectives explained in the following paragraphs focus on the interactions among groups of students, holding that these interactions themselves lead to better learning and thus better…show more content…
Cognitive Developmental Perspective : A fundamental assumption of the cognitive development perspective driven by theories is that reciprocal interaction among children around suitable academic tasks creates growth in the knowledge of concepts and critical skills (Slavin, 2011). Vygotsky’s notion of the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) is meaningful to learning. Such learning happens through interaction with each other in the ZPD. Vygotsky (1978) defines the ZPD as the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers. (Vygotsky, 1978 : 86). Within the general cognitive heading, the cognitive developmentalists attribute these effects to processes outlined by scholars such as Piaget (1926) and Vygotsky (1978). Vygotsky’s (1978) work stressed benefits of collaborating with a more expert peer because what a student carries out jointly with another could be incorporated into his or her individual repertoire. Piaget’s work stressed the benefits of cognitive conflicts among students that expose students’ misconceptions and lead to higher-quality understandings. Work from the cognitive elaboration perspectives asserts that learners must engage in some manner of cognitive restructuring of new materials in order to learn them. Co-operative learning is said to facilitate that process. It is
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