Thursday, April 24, 2008

Cooperative Learning: Introduction

It is a misnomer to call cooperative learning "group work." The following list describes the differences between cooperative learning and group work:

  1. In group work, all people have the same job, task and role. In cooperative learning, students have a defined role with a respective task.
  2. In group work, students engage in a task that they could do individually. There is a sense that they don't "need" one another. In cooperative learning, students depend upon one another for each learning activity.
  3. In group work, there is rarely any sense of accountability. In cooperative learning, individuals hold one another accountability.
  4. In group work, there is little training ahead of time. Groups are created and students must figure out how to get along. In cooperative learning, students have recieved instructions in how to handle conflict, divide tasks, use metacognition and set their own goals.

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