Completed in the winter of 1996, this document represents a five-week study of cooperative learning and the effects this teaching and learning style has on students in a particular fifth grade classroom. It reviews literature published on this topic, the educational theories behind it, a description of the actual cooperative learning structures implemented, and the effects of those structures on the students. This is followed by an analysis of the study and the implications of. the analysis.
The research on cooperative learning is based on Johnson and Johnson's theories. Their theories contend that by utilizing cooperative learning structures within a classroom, students will achieve greater academic and personal success. They believe that cooperative learning enhances productivity, fosters better relationships between students and can cause an increase in students' self-esteem.
The methodology used was qualitative with data collected through observation, surveys and interviews.
The implications of the author's findings point to cooperative learning as being much more than than just "working in groups". It requires a strong foundation in terms of teacher preparedness and a tremendous amount of team building among the students. Beginning slowly and moving at a careful pace is crucial to insure that students possess the necessary skills in which to successfully experience and learn from cooperative learning.
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