Developments in Cooperative Learning: Review of Research
Cooperative learning, where students work in small groups to accomplish shared goals, is widely recognized as a teaching strategy that promotes learning and socialization among students from kindergarten through college and across different subject domains. It has been used successfully to promote reading and writing achievements, understanding and conceptual development in science classes, problem-solving in mathematics, and higher-order thinking and learning to name just a few. It has been shown to enhance students’ willingness to work cooperatively and productively with others with diverse learning and adjustment needs and to enhance intergroup relations with those from culturally and ethnically different backgrounds. It has also been used as a teaching strategy to assist students to manage conflict and to help students identified as bullies learn appropriate interpersonal skills. In fact, it has been argued that cooperative learning experiences are crucial to preventing and alleviating many of the social problems related to children, adolescents, and young adults. There is no doubt that the benefits attributed to cooperative learning are widespread and numerous and it is the apparent success of this approach to learning that has led to it being acclaimed as one of the greatest educational innovations of recent times.The purpose of this paper is not only to review developments in research on cooperative learning but also to examine the factors that mediate and moderate its success. In particular, the review focuses on the types of student and teacher interactions generated and the key role talk plays in developing student thinking and learning, albeit though the expression of contrasting opinions or constructed shared meaning. The intention is to provide additional insights on how teachers can effectively utilize this pedagogical approach to teaching and learning in their classrooms
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