Co-operative Learning

Self expression & acting

Co-operative Learning

Co-operative learning is a social instructional strategy which enables teachers to create rich and varied learning environments. It occurs when students work in small groups and all participate in a learning task by actively negotiating roles, responsibilities and outcomes.  Co-operative groups have five elements: positive interdependence, individual accountability, face-to-face interaction, social skills and processing.

The WLW encourages teachers to incorporate a range of co-operative learning structures into all learning areas, to carefully engineer student interactions for learning – to ensure they are effective co-operative groups. Some examples of the co-operative structures used include: think pair share, say and switch, round-robin, three-step interview, corners, graffiti, and jigsaw. As WLPS students are familiar with the function of the co-operative learning structures, the time taken to explain them is minimal.

Research demonstrates that the effective implementation of co-operative learning can result in higher self-esteem, higher achievement, increased retention, greater social support, more on-task behaviour, greater collaboration and development of collaborative skills, greater intrinsic motivation, increased perspective taking, better attitudes towards school and teachers, and the use of higher level reasoning (Johnson, Johnson & Holubec 1990).

The effect sizes related to co-operative learning include:

  • Jigsaw method 1.2
  • Peer tutoring 0.53
  • Reciprocal teaching 0.74
  • Small group learning 0.49
  • Co-operative learning v whole class instruction 0.41
  • Co-operative learning vs individual work 0.55
  • Co-operative learning vs competitive learning 0.54