Co-operative learning on the web-site for teachers and learners of English as a secondary language from a German point of view
Learning, Durham, Ontario, Canada 1996
The purpose of the British Columbia school system is to enable learners
to develop their individual potential and to acquire the knowledge, skills,
and attitudes needed to contribute to a healthy society and a prosperous
and successful economy.
A healthy society and a prosperous and sustainable economy are achievable
when "educated citizens", striving to be the best they can be, are
thoughtful, able to learn and to think critically, and to communicate
information from a broad knowledge base (in order to be able to solve problems
efficiently and effectively);
creative, flexible, self-motivated and possessing a positive self image
(in order to be able to make choices confidently and to take advantage
of opportunities as they arise);
capable of making independent decisions (in order to participate fully
in society's institutions);
skilled and able to contribute to society generally, including the world
of work(in order to help support the society and economy);
productive, able to gain satisfaction through achievement and strive
for physical well being (in order to make a contribution to the well being
of society while pursuing personal objectives);
co-operative, principled and respectful of others regardless of differences
(in order to foster the aims of a healthy society);
aware of the rights and prepared to exercise the responsibilities of
an individual within the family, the community, Canada, and the world (in
order to ensure improvement of society and the economy).
is broadly defined as an approach to organizing classroom activities
so that students can interact with and learn from one another as well as
from the teacher and the world around them.
Roger Johnson and David Johnson
"Most careers do not expect people to sit in rows and complete with
colleagues without interacting with them. Teamwork, communication, effective
co-ordination, and division of labour characterize most real-life settings.
It is time for schools to more realistically reflect the reality of adult
life. The most logical way to ensure that students master the co-operative
skills required in most task-oriented situations is to structure the majority
of academic learning situations co-operatively.
Key Elements of Co-operative
A comparison of co-operative teams and traditional
small groups will highlight the differences between the two types of groups.
(What is printed in bold is a description of co-operative learning
teams while the description of typical traditional small groups is printed
in italics below it.
The goal structure of the team includes POSITIVE
INTERDEPENDENCE, "All for one and one for all." Face-to face interaction
is essential for individuals to feel they belong to the team. (This is
commonly known as "EEKK": Eye-to-eye, knee-to-knee.)
- There is no interdependence. Students
often work on their own, occasionally checking their answers with others.
No common goal is evident.
There is clear INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTABILITY where each
person must master the material or contribute to the completion of the
- Students will "hitchhike" or "free-ride".
Some students let others do most of the work or one student takes over
the tasks to do it "their way".
Teachers teaches SOCIAL SKILLS needed for successful
- Social skills are not systematically
taught or often ignored in the group's process.
Teacher monitors student's behaviour through observation
- No direct observation of student
behaviour is done by the teacher. The teacher often works with
other students, marks papers, or prepares for the next lesson.
There is frequent feedback and discussion of student's
behaviour in the teams.
- There is normally no discussion
of how well students have worked together or what their group needs to
work on; often there are very general comments like "Nice job" or "Next
time try working more quietly" rather than specific feedback on a group's
Research Review of Effects of Co-operative
Increased academic chievement
Greater social support
More on-task behaviour
Better attitudes towards teachers
Greater intrinsic motivation
Better attitudes toward school
Improved collaborative skills