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Thesis

How a teacher employs and students respond to cooperative learning in an elementary classroom: A future teacher's investigation

1 December 1991

Abstract

Cooperative learning is a reviving classroom structure that is sweeping across schools. Cooperative learning refers to a classroom structure in which students work on learning activities in small, heterogeneous groups in which , students are expected to help each other. Students receive recognition for their group's performance. There are numerous different methods and approaches to cooperative learning. Cooperative learning advocates claim this program increases academic performance, improves relations between all students, enhances self-esteem, and increases liking of subjects and school. The purpose of this project is to examine how classroom teachers, particularly elementary teachers, use cooperative learning activities and how students respond to cooperative learning activities in terms of improved relations, enhanced self-esteem, and increased liking of subjects and school. Data were collected from articles published by practiCing teachers, observing cooperative learning in a sixth grade classroom, and from an interview with a cooperative learning third grade teacher. Findings indicate that, for cooperative learning activities to be effective, social skills should be taught, individual accountability should be present in the form of graded and/or competitive group activities or by holding a discussion immediately following the activity, and that the teacher's personality should be one that is compatible with the increased activity that cooperative learning generates.


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