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Collaboration in the classroom, opportunities for learning, democracy and cohesion in an elementary school

1 December 1993


This research paper was conducted to explore the benefits of collaborative groupwork within an elementary classroom. The questions that this study investigates are: 1) Is classroom democracy improved by collaborative groupwork? 2) Is classroom cohesion heightened by collaborative groupwork? and 3) Is the opportunity for learning impacted by group size? The analysis of the data collected to address these questions is analyzed from a sociological point of view. Classroom observations are presented along with student
interviews, questionnaires, and sociological techniques. While interpreting the data several patterns emerged. Evident within the cooperative structure is an interdependence among students,and a sense of fair play during classroom interactions. Students feel comfortable sharing information with their groupmates and ask more questions within a small group setting. The large group setting provides many perspectives on an issue. Additionally, the
cooperative classroom has half as many isolated students as the traditional class it is compared to. My research reveals that both democracy and classroom
cohesion are improved by collaborative groupwork. Furthermore, large and small group structures each have specific benefits to learning. Small groups prompted more open communication between students, while large groups often lead to greater understanding for the learner. Large group discussions are shown to be an excellent way to reach the classroom isolate.


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