This paper defines cooperative learning and how it is used in the classroom. I will contrast the differences between cooperative learning and a traditional competitive approach. Studies will show how cooperative learning can be utilized to improve race relations, and how it supports and assists special needs students in the classroom. The development and use of social skills is a prominent consequence from the use of cooperative learning. I will show how cooperative learning, when used correctly, brings students together as they work for a common goal. This phenomenon often times transcends the classroom as students develop friendships that were precipitated in small group work. The use of this approach also influences students being more attentive and devoted to the subject matter they are involved in. Cooperative learning can have far reaching effects as it better prepares students to function in the real world. And it can play an instrumental role in building a students self-esteem and self-awareness.
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