Cooperative or collaborative learning is a team process where members support and rely on each other to achieve an
agreed-upon goal. The classroom is an excellent place to develop
team-building skills you will need later in life.
Cooperative/collaborative learning is interactive; as a
team member, you:
develop and share a common goal
contribute your understanding of the problem:
questions, insights and solutions
respond to, and work to understand, others' questions,
insights and solutions. Each member empowers the other to
speak and contribute, and to consider their contributions
are accountable to others, and they are accountable to
are dependent on others, and they depend on you
What makes for a good learning team?
Team activities begin with training in, and
understanding group processes. An instructor begins by
facilitating discussion and suggesting alternatives but
does not impose solutions on the team, especially those
having difficulty working together
Three to five people Larger teams have difficulty in
keeping everyone involved
Teacher-assigned groups They function better than
Diverse skill levels, backgrounds, experience
Each individual brings strengths to a group
member of the group is responsible to not only
contribute his/her strengths, but also to help others
understand the source of their strengths
who is at a disadvantage or not comfortable with the
majority should be encouraged and proactively empowered
Learning is positively influenced with
a diversity of perspective and experience increasing
options for problem solving, and expanding the range of
details to consider
Commitment of each member to a goal that is defined
and understood by the group
Confidential peer ratings
are a good way to assess who is and who is not
Groups have the right to fire a non-cooperative or
non-participating member if all remedies have failed.
(The person fired then has to find another group to
Individuals can quit if they believe they are doing
most of the work with little assistance from the others.
(This person can often easily find another group to
welcome his/her contributions)
Shared operating principles and responsibilities,
defined and agreed to by each member. These include:
Commitment to attend, prepare and be on time for
Have discussions and disagreements focus on issues,
avoiding personal criticism
Take responsibility for a share of the tasks and carry
them out on time You may need to perform tasks that
you have little experience, feel ill-prepared for, or
even think others would do better. Accept the challenge,
but be comfortable in stating that you may need help,
training, a mentor, or have to resign and take on
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