How many times have we asked students to form groups in which to work in? Do we always consider the dynamics of the group? Are students sharing ‘the load’? What do we want to achieve through group work?
These are questions, we as educators, need to ask ourselves. Do we want students to progress as individuals in a group, as opposed to a group product? Or, do we want students to develop social skills and take part in discussion?
Regardless of the purpose, students will be taking part in co-operative learning methods…. structured (individual accountability) or informal group learning (social).
In order for co-operative learning to work, whether it be structured or informal, two elements are essential:
- Group Goals
- Individual accountability
Co-operative Learning offers a proven, practical means of creating exciting social and engaging classroom environments to help students to master traditional skills and knowledge as well as develop the creative and interactive skills needed in today’s economy and society (Dumont, Istance, Benavides, 2010).