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What is Cooperative Learning?
Cooperative learning is a teaching strategy for organizing classroom activities. Grouped into small teams, pupils work together to achieve shared goals. This structured group is an effective tool to address learning, organizational and communication problems at school.

Cooperative learning shifts the focus in teaching from lecturing to interaction. The teacher serves as afacilitator and observer during all cooperative learning activities. Although the teacher's role is not so overtly dominant, he or she remains actively involved. Teachers are expected to join the student groups for brief periods to facilitate the learning process and to make sure that students do not digress from the task. They should also be available to answer questions that may come from students. Cooperative learning has proved to boost academic achievement, improve behavior and attendance, increase self-esteem and motivation.



What is its purpose?
There is an every increasing need for interdependence in all levels of our society. Providing students with the tools to effectively work in a collaborative environment should be a priority. Cooperative Learning is one way of providing
students with a well defined framework from which to learn from each other.
Students work towards fulfilling academic and social skill goals that are clearly stated.
It is a team approach where the success of the group depends upon everyone pulling his or her weight.


How can I do it?
Five Basic Elements of Cooperative Learning
1. Positive Interdependence
2. Face-To-Face Interaction
3. Individual Accountability
4. Social Skills
5. Group Processing

The basic elements of cooperative learning can be considered essential to all interactive methods. Student groups are small, usually consisting of two to six members. Grouping is heterogeneous with respect to student characteristics. Group members share the various roles and are interdependent in achieving the group learning goal. While the academic task is of primary importance, students also learn the importance of maintaining group health and harmony, and respecting individual views.


How can I adapt it?
Cooperative learning can take place in a variety of circumstances. For example, brainstorming and tutorial groups, when employed as instructional strategies, provide opportunities to develop cooperative learning skills and attitudes. Below is a cooperative learning lesson for Geometry. This is one of the many ways teachers can incorporate group work into their lessons.