In last week’s column, a reader asked about the use of
cooperative learning in classrooms. If you missed it, you may find last week’s
column HERE .
Following are some of the benefits of students working
in cooperation with each other:
- Their social competence increases. This is the way for them
to learn to trust others, gauge different perspectives, and become aware of
the interdependence that exists among members of a group.
- Their academic achievement rises. No longer isolated at
their own desks, and expected to come up with their own answers, they learn
from each other in addition to learning from the teacher. (We adults must
recognize that we are not the only ones with the right answers!)
- Their social support system widens. As academics and social
interaction are intertwined, social circles expand. This, in turn, has a
positive impact on stress management and life extension. People recover more
quickly from illnesses when they know that they have people who care about
- They are more motivated. Understanding that others are
depending on them for their own contributions, they are more willing to
contribute than when they had only themselves to depend upon.
- They improve their own thinking skills. Others solve
problems and approach situations differently. If they are left to their own
devices, they may solve problems with the same approach time after time.
However, when they are exposed to the thought processes of others, they have
new ways of gathering data, forming strategies, and analyzing situations.
- Their psychological health improves. Being able to improve
and maintain relationships is a skill that is carried on into later life.
- Their self-esteem is raised. They are now working in an
environment with better peer relations. Because this also leads to better
academic achievement (grades), they feel better about themselves.
- They are better world citizens. In working with students of
different backgrounds, racial groups, and who may speak different languages at
home, they learn to look beyond these superficial identifiers and move toward
the common good that can be gained from working together. There is a decrease
in racism and sexism as they learn to work with different others.
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