Cooperative learning (การเรียนแบบร่วมมือ)

 Cooperative learning(การเรียนแบบร่วมมือ)
Cooperative learning is an approach to organizing classroom activities into academic and social learning experiences. Students must work in groups to complete tasks collectively. Unlike individual learning, students learning cooperatively capitalize on one another’s resources and skills (asking one another for information, evaluating one another’s ideas, monitoring one another’s work, etc.). Furthermore, the teacher's role changes from giving information to facilitating students' learning. Everyone succeeds when the group succeeds.


Prior to World War II, social theorists such as Allport, Watson, Shaw, and Mead began establishing cooperative learning theory after finding that group work was more effective and efficient in quantity, quality, and overall productivity when compared to working alone. However, it wasn’t until 1937 when researchers May and Doob found that people who cooperate and work together to achieve shared goals, were more successful in attaining outcomes, than those who strived independently to complete the same goals. Furthermore, they found that independent achievers had a greater likelihood of displaying competitive behaviours. Philosophers and psychologists in the 1930s and 40’s such as John Dewey, Kurt Lewin, and Morton Deutsh also influenced the cooperative learning theory practiced today. Dewey believed it was important that students develop knowledge and social skills that could be used outside of the classroom, and in the democratic society. This theory portrayed students as active recipients of knowledge by discussing information and answers in groups, engaging in the learning process together rather than being passive receivers of information (e.g. teacher talking, students listening). Lewin’s contributions to cooperative learning were based on the ideas of establishing relationships between group members in order to successfully carry out and achieve the learning goal. Deutsh’s contribution to cooperative learning was positive social interdependence, the idea that the student is responsible for contributing to group knowledge. Since then, David and Roger Johnson have been actively contributing to the cooperative learning theory. In 1975, they identified that cooperative learning promoted mutual liking, better communication, high acceptance and support, as well as demonstrated an increase in a variety of thinking strategies among individuals in the group. Students who showed to be more competitive lacked in their interaction and trust with others, as well as in their emotional involvement with other students. In 1994 Johnson and Johnson published the 5 elements (positive interdependence, individual accountability, face-to-face interaction, social skills, and processing) essential for effective group learning, achievement, and higher-order social, personal and cognitive skills (e.g., problem solving, reasoning, decision-making, planning, organizing, and reflecting).




Formal cooperative learning is structured, facilitated, and monitored by the educator over time and is used to achieve group goals in task work (e.g. completing a unit). Any course material or assignment can be adapted to this type of learning, and groups can vary from 2-6 people with discussions lasting from a few minutes up to a period. Types of formal cooperative learning strategies include jigsaw, assignments that involve group problem solving and decision making, laboratory or experiment assignments, and peer review work (e.g. editing writing assignments). Having experience and developing skill with this type of learning often facilitates informal and base learning.

Informal cooperative learning incorporates group learning with passive teaching by drawing attention to material through small groups throughout the lesson or by discussion at the end of a lesson, and typically involves groups of two (e.g. turn-to-your-partner discussions). These groups are often temporary and can change from lesson to lesson (very much unlike formal learning where 2 students may be lab partners throughout the entire semester contributing to one another’s knowledge of science). Discussions typically have four components that include formulating a response to questions asked by the educator, sharing responses to the questions asked with a partner, listening to a partner’s responses to the same question, and creating a new well-developed answer. This type of learning enables the student to process, consolidate, and retain more information learned.

In group-based cooperative learning, these peer groups gather together over the long term (e.g. over the course of a year, or several years such as in high school or post-secondary studies) to develop and contribute to one another’s knowledge mastery on a topic by regularly discussing material, encouraging one another, and supporting the academic and personal success of group members. Base group learning is effective for learning complex subject matter over the course or semester and establishes caring, supportive peer relationships, which in turn motivates and strengthens the student’s commitment to the group’s education while increasing self-esteem and self worth. Base group approaches also make the students accountable to educating their peer group in the event that a member was absent for a lesson. This is effective both for individual learning, as well as social support.




Brown & Ciuffetelli Parker (2009) discuss the 5 basic and essential elements to cooperative learning:

1. Positive Interdependence

  • Students must fully participate and put forth effort within their group
  • Each group member has a task/role/responsibility therefore must believe that they are responsible for their learning and that of their group

2. Face-to-Face Promotive Interaction

  • Member promote each others success
  • Students explain to one another what they have or are learning and assist one another with understanding and completion of assignments

3. Individual Accountability

  • Each student must demonstrate master of the content being studied
  • Each student is accountable for their learning and work, therefore eliminating “social loafing

4. Social Skills

  • Social skills that must be taught in order for successful cooperative learning to occur
  • Skills include effective communication, interpersonal and group skills
i. Leadership
ii. Decision-making
iii. Trust-building
iv. Communication
v. Conflict-management skills

5. Group Processing

  • Every so often groups must assess their effectiveness and decide how it can be improved

In order for student achievement to improve considerably, two characteristics must be present a) Students are working towards a group goal or recognition and b) success is reliant on each individual’s learning

a. When designing cooperative learning tasks and reward structures, individual responsibility and accountability must be identified. Individuals must know exactly what their responsibilities are and that they are accountable to the group in order to reach their goal.
b. Positive Interdependence among students in the task. All group members must be involved in order for the group to complete the task. In order for this to occur each member must have a task that they are responsible for which cannot be completed by any other group member.

Research supporting cooperative learning


Research on cooperative learning demonstrated “overwhelmingly positive” results and confirmed that cooperative modes are cross-curricular. Cooperative learning requires students to engage in group activities that increase learning and adds other important dimensions. The positive outcomes include: academic gains, improved race relations and increased personal and social development. Brady & Tsay (2010) report that students who fully participated in group activities, exhibited collaborative behaviours, provided constructive feedback and cooperated with their group had a higher likelihood of receiving higher test scores and course grades at the end of the semester. Results from Brady & Tsay’s (2010) study support the notion that cooperative learning is an active pedagogy that fosters higher academic achievement (p. 85).

Slavin states the following regarding research on cooperative learning which corresponds with Brady & Tsay’s (2010) findings.

  • Students demonstrate academic achievement
  • Cooperative learning methods are usually equally effective for all ability levels.
  • Cooperative learning is affective for all ethnic groups
  • Student perceptions of one another are enhanced when given the opportunity to work with one another
  • Cooperative learning increases self esteem and self concept
  • Ethnic and physically/mentally handicapped barriers are broken down allowing for positive interactions and friendships to occur


Cooperative Learning has many limitations that could cause the process to be more complicated then first perceived. Sharan (2010) discusses the issue regarding the constant evolution of cooperative learning is discussed as a threat. Due to the fact that cooperative learning is constantly changing, there is the possibility that teachers may become confused and lack complete understanding of the method. Teachers implementing cooperative learning may also be challenged with resistance and hostility from students who believe that they are being held back by their slower teammates or by students who are less confident and feel that they are being ignored or demeaned by their team.


See also






^ Chiu, M. M. (2000). Group problem solving processes: Social interactions and individual actions. Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior, 30, 1, 27-50.600-631.
^ Chiu, M. M. (2008).Flowing toward correct contributions during groups' mathematics problem solving: A statistical discourse analysis. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 17 (3), 415 - 463.
^ Chiu, M. M. (2004). Adapting teacher interventions to student needs during cooperative learning. American Educational Research Journal, 41, 365-399.
^ Cohen, E. G. (1994). Designing group work. New York: Teacher's College.

^ Gilles, R.M., & Adrian, F. (2003). Cooperative Learning: The social and intellectual Outcomes of Learning in Groups. London: Farmer Press.


^ May, M. and Doob, L. (1937). Cooperation and Competition. New York: Social Sciences Research Council


^ a b c Sharan, Y. (2010). Cooperative Learning for Academic and Social Gains: valued pedagogy, problematic practice. European Journal of Education, 45,(2), 300-313.


^ Johnson, D., Johnson, R. (1975). Learning together and alone, cooperation, competition, and individualization. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.


^ Johnson, D., Johnson, R. (1994). Learning together and alone, cooperative, competitive, and individualistic learning. Needham Heights, MA: Prentice-Hall.


^ a b c Johnson, D., Johnson, R., & Holubec, E. (1988). Advanced Cooperative Learning. Edin, MN: Interaction Book Company.


^ a b c Brown, H., & Ciuffetelli, D.C. (Eds.). (2009). Foundational methods: Understanding teaching and learning. Toronto: Pearson Education.


^ a b Brown, H., & Ciuffetelli, D.C. (Eds.). (2009). Foundational methods: Understanding teaching and learning, p. 507. Toronto: Pearson Education.


^ Brown, H., & Ciuffetelli, D.C. (Eds.). (2009). Foundational methods: Understanding teaching and learning, p. 508. Toronto: Pearson Education.


Further reading


  • Aldrich, H., & Shimazoe,J. (2010). Group work can be gratifying: Understanding and overcoming resistance to cooperative learning. College Teaching, 58(2), 52-57.
  • Baker,T., & Clark, J. (2010). Cooperative learning- a double edged sword: A cooperative learning model for use with diverse student groups. Intercultural Education, 21(3), 257-268.
  • Kose, S., Sahin, A., Ergu, A., & Gezer, K. (2010). The effects of cooperative learning experience on eight grade students’ achievement and attitude toward science. Education, 131 (1), 169-180.
  • Lynch, D. (2010). Application of online discussion and cooperative learning strategies to online and blended college courses. College Student Journal, 44(3), 777-784.
  • Naested, I., Potvin, B., & Waldron, P. (2004). Understanding the landscape of teaching. Toronto: Pearson Education.
  • Scheurell, S. (2010). Virtual warrenshburg: Using cooperative learning and the internet in the social studies classroom. Social Studies, 101(5), 194-199.
  • Tsay, M., & Brady, M. (2010). A case study of cooperative learning and communication pedagogy: Does working in teams make a difference? Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 10(2), 78 – 89.

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David W. Johnson

Emeritus Professor


Educational Psychology
143 EdSciB
56 East River Rd

Ed.D., Columbia University

I am a Co-Director of the Cooperative Learning Center. I held the Emma M. Birkmaier Professorship in Educational Leadership at the University of Minnesota from 1994 to 1997 and the Libra Endowed Chair for Visiting Professor at the University of Maine in 1996-1997. I received the American Psychological Association’s 2003 Award for Distinguished Contributions of Applications of Psychology to Education and Practice. In 2007 I received (with my brother Roger) the Brock International Prize in Education administered by the College of Liberal Studies at the University of Oklahoma. In 2008 I received the Distinguished Contributions to Research in Education Award from the American Education Research Association.

I’ve authored over 500 research articles and book chapters and over 50 books. I’m a past-editor of the American Educational Research Journal. For the past 40 years I have served as an organizational consultant to schools and businesses throughout the world. I am a practicing psychotherapist.

My research interests are (a) cooperative, competitive, and individualistic efforts; (b) conflict resolution (structured controversy and peer mediation), and (c) social psychology of groups in general. I am active in the field of organizational development and change, and in innovation in educational practice. I emphasize the integration of theory, research, and practice.

See "Working cooperatively: proof that students who work together, learn together"


Ed.D. in social psychology, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York, 1964-1966

M.A. in social psychology, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York, 1962-1964

B.S. in English, Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, 1958-1962

Professional experience

Professor, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1973 - present

Associate professor, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1969 - 1973

Assistant professor, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1966 - 1969

Instructor, City University of New York, 1965 - 1966


  1. Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, F. (2000). Joining together: Group Theory and Group Skills
  2. Johnson, D. W. (2000). Reaching out: Interpersonal Effectiveness and Self-actualization
  3. Holubec, E., Mitchell, J., Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. (2000). Instructor's Manu


Roger Johnson

Ed.D., University of California at Berkeley
science education

Curriculum & Instruction
60 Peik H
157 Pillsbury Dr SE
Tel: 612/624-7031

Office hours:
by appointment

Areas of Interest

Science teaching in elementary contexts, structuring cooperation in classrooms and schools, conflict resolution and controversy

Research Interests

I have had the opportunity to teach in several innovative public schools. My research focus has been the development and dissemination of cooperative learning techniques for the classroom throughout the U.S., Canada, and in several other countries. I am the author of numerous articles and book chapters and co-author with my brother David of several books, including Learning Together and Alone, Circles of Learning, and Active Learning: Cooperation in the College Classroom. More on cooperative learning can be found at The Cooperative Learning Center at the University of Minnesota.

See "Working cooperatively: proof that students who work together, learn together."

Selected Publications

  1. Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. (2000). Cooperative learning, values, and culturally plural classrooms. In M. Leicester, C. Modgill, & S. Modgill (Eds.), Values, the classroom, and cultural diversity (pp. 15-28). London: Cassell PLC.

  2. Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. (2000). Cooperation, conflict, cognition, and metacognition. In A. Costa (Ed.), Developing minds: A resource book for teaching thinking (2nd ed). Alexandria VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

  3. Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R., & Smith, K. (2000). Constructive controversy: The educative power of intellectual conflict. Change, 32(1), 28-37.

  4. Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. (1999). Learning together and alone: Cooperative, competitive, and individualistic learning (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Robert Slavin


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Robert A. Slavin
(410) 616-2310



Robert Slavin is a noted psychologist who studies educational and academic issues. He founded the Success for All reform program for primary and middle schools.

He will lead the Institute for Effective Education at the University of York - this is an international, independent multi-disciplinary resource focused on producing high-quality evidence-based assessments of educational practice and policy, and translating it into effective action to benefit all young people.

The IEE is established at the University thanks to an £11 million donation from the Bowland Charitable Trust.

Professor Slavin is currently Director of the Centre for Research and Reform in Education (CRRE) at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. He is co-founder of the Success for All Foundation, a non-profit organisation that develops and evaluates programs for high-poverty schools across the USA and England.


Dr. Robert Slavin's thoughts on Cooperative Learning

Dr. Robert Slavin was a director of Elementary School Programs. He has contributed a lot in the subject of collaborative or cooperative learning. There's no doubt that collaborative or cooperative learning is a great way of building and teaching students. Students learn in groups in a much better way that they do it individually. Cooperative learning is not relatively new but it traces its history back to early 18th century. Cooperative learning not only encourages students on learning the group's tasks and activities but also helps them in building a social personality in them. The instructor of the group is a very important personality or entity that directs the movements of groups.

Dr. Slavin suggests that cooperative learning is not only a great way of learning but it is also a very vast field of research and analysis. Consequent to research and analysis, the design section exist which suggest the designing of course outline and groups tasks. Dr. Slavin also suggests that cooperative learning is doubtlessly a great tool for handicapped and disabled students. Cooperative learning encourages these students and molds them to work in a professional environment. Cooperative learning of disabled and normal students is another great way of encourage disabled students. According to Slavin, when disabled and handicapped students work in mainstream and heterogeneous environments, they learn in a more productive and skillful manner.


Slavin has also contributed a lot in researching cooperative learning. He has given a lot of well-structured material that is really helpful in building the principles of cooperative learning. He has also written a guest editorial in 1990 in which he discussed the power of collaborative or cooperative learning. In this editorial, he discussed some really important issues and matters related to cooperative learning and ways that can be employed to elongate the implementation of cooperative learning. He has discussed different type of students who are capable of learning to different extents in different manner. A lot of material and literature of Dr. Robert Slavin can be found on this topic.

The "Success for all" Foundation of Dr. Robert Slavin is a great foundation rendering its services towards cooperative learning. The core purpose of the foundation is to raise the academic achievement throughout the nation. This is conducted by delivering many high quality programs and seminars. Almost all of the national schools participate in the seminars and meetings of "Success for All" foundation. Currently, there are four programs being offered by "Success for All" foundation. These four programs are categorized under headings: early childhood, elementary, middle school, and finally high school. The foundation offers proven solutions to raise the grade level performance of students. The greatest benefit of consulting the foundation is that they work regardless of the challenges and abilities of individual students. Methods of instruction and school organization are one of its kinds. Similarly, high school cooperative learning services provided by Dr. Robert Slavin's "Success for All" foundation are matchless and best-value. There are hundreds of thousands of students associated with this foundation and are making their career fruitful and lucrative.

Slavin on Cooperative Learning

 Slavin, R.E., Holmes, G.C., & Daniels, C. (2008/2009). Raising the bar at Furness High. Educational Leadership, 66 (4). Retrieved January 23, 2009 from

Slavin, R.E. (2009). Can financial incentives enhance educational outcomes? Evidence from international experiments. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Click here to see Robert Slavin's complete CV


Cooperative Learning

Two heads learn better than one

by Roger T. and David W. Johnson

One of the articles in Transforming Education (IC#18)
Winter 1988, Page 34
Copyright (c)1988, 1997 by Context Institute | To order this issue ...

Roger and David Johnson are brothers who are managing to work cooperatively as faculty at the College of Education, University of Minnesota (202 Pattee Hall, Minneapolis, MN 55455).

- Robert Gilman

How the students perceive and interact with one another is a neglected aspect of instruction. Much training time is devoted to helping teachers arrange appropriate interactions between students and materials (i.e., textbooks, curriculum programs, etc.), some time is spent on how teachers should interact with students, but how students should interact with one another is relatively ignored. It shouldn't be. How teachers structure student-student interaction patterns will have a lot to say about how well the students learn, how they feel about school and the teacher or professor, how they feel about each other, and their self-esteem.

There are three basic ways students can interact with each other as they learn. They can compete to see who is "best"; they can work individualistically on their own toward a goal without paying attention to other students; or they can work cooperatively with a vested interest in each other's learning as well as their own.

Of the three interaction patterns, competition is presently the most dominant. The research indicates that a vast majority of students in the United States view school as a competitive enterprise where you try to do better than the other students. This competitive expectation is already fairly widespread when students enter school and grows stronger as they progress through school.

In the last 15 years, the individualistic interaction pattern has been the most talked about but has never really caught on. Cooperation among students where they celebrate each other's successes, encourage each other to do homework, and learn to work together regardless of ethnic backgrounds, male or female, bright or struggling, handicapped or not, is rare.

Even though these three interaction patterns are not equally effective in helping students learn concepts and skills, it is important that students learn to interact effectively in each of these patterns. Students will face situations where all three interaction patterns are operating, and they will need to be able to be effective in each situation. They also should be able to select an appropriate interaction pattern suited to the situation.


An interpersonal, competitive situation is characterized by negative goal interdependence, where, when one person wins, the others lose. Do you remember the Spelling Bee where you spelled each other down or raced others to get the correct answers on the blackboard for a math problem? In an individualistic learning situation, students are independent of one another and are working toward a set criteria where their success depends on their own performance in relation to an established criteria. The success or failure of other students does not affect their score. In spelling if all students are working on their own and any student who correctly spells 90% or more words passes, it would be an individualistic structure.

In a cooperative learning situation, interaction is characterized by positive goal interdependence with individual accountability. Positive goal interdependence requires acceptance by a group that they "sink or swim together." A cooperative spelling class is one where students are working together in small groups to help each other learn the words in order to take the spelling test individually on Friday. Each student's score in the test is increased by bonus points earned by the group. In that situation a student needs to be concerned with how she or he spells and how well the other students in his or her group spell. This cooperative umbrella can also be extended over the entire class if bonus points are awarded to each student when the class can spell more words than a reasonable, but demanding, criterion set by the teacher.

There is a difference between "having students work in a group" and structuring students to work cooperatively. A group of students sitting at the same table doing their own work, but free to talk with each other as they work, is not structured to be a cooperative group as there is no positive interdependence. (Perhaps it could be called individualistic learning with talking.) There needs to be an accepted common goal on which the group will be rewarded for their efforts. In the same way, a group of students who have been assigned to do a report where only one student cares, does all the work and the others go along for a free ride, is not a cooperative group. A cooperative group has a sense of individual accountability that means that all students need to know the material or spell well for the group to be successful. Putting students into groups does not necessarily gain positive interdependence and/or individual accountability; it has to be structured and managed by the teacher or professor.


When examining the research comparing students learning cooperatively, competitively, and individualistically, a very interesting paradox develops. Common practice in schools today has teachers striving to separate students from one another and have them work on their own. Teachers continually use phrases like, "Don't look at each other's papers!", "I want to see what you can do, not your neighbor!" or "Work on your own!". Having students work alone, competively or individualisticly, is the dominant interaction pattern among students in classrooms today. The paradox is that the vast majority of the research comparing student-student interaction patterns indicates that students learn more effectively when they work cooperatively. The data suggest:

1) Students achieve more in cooperative interaction than in competitive or individualistic interaction. With several colleagues, we recently did a meta-analysis on all the research studies that compare cooperation, competition and individualistic learning (122 studies from 1924 to 1980). The results indicated that cooperation seems to be much more powerful in producing achievement than the other interaction patterns and the results hold for several subject areas and a range of age groups from elementary school through adult.

2) Students are more positive about school, subject areas, and teachers or professors when they are structured to work cooperatively.

3) Students are more positive about each other when they learn cooperatively than when they learn alone, competitively, or individualistically - regardless of differences in ability, ethnic background, handicapped or not.

4) Students are more effective interpersonally as a result of working cooperatively than when they work alone, competitively or individualistically. Students with cooperative experiences are more able to take the perspective of others, are more positive about taking part in controversy, have better developed interaction skills, and have a more positive expectation about working with others than students from competitive or individualistic settings.

With all the data that is available in this area (we now have collected over 500 studies), it is surprising that practice in classrooms is not more consistent with research findings.


To help change this, one of our on-going tasks has been to translate the concept of cooperation into a set of practical strategies for use by teachers and professors. We are presently working with over twenty school districts and several colleges and universities on training staff in the strategies of structuring cooperative interactions and teaching students the skills needed to work effectively with others (communication, leadership, trust building, and conflict resolution). A basic model has developed which focuses on a set of decisions a teacher needs to make before a lesson, what is said to students at the beginning of the lesson to "set" the cooperative goal structure, and the role of the teacher as the students are working. An outline of the model includes:

Select a lesson. Although almost any learning situation can be adapted to be cooperative, competitive or individualistic, the teacher needs to select a place to start with cooperation. We encourage teachers to start with one lesson and build slowly as they and their students get accustomed to the "new" structure. Cooperative learning groups have shown to be especially effective where problem-solving, conceptual learning, or divergent thinking are required.

Make the following decisions:

1) Select the groups' size most appropriate for the lesson. The optimal size of a cooperative group will vary according to resources needed to complete the assignment (the larger the group, the more resources available); the cooperative skills of the group members (the less skillful the members, the smaller the group should be); the amount of time available (the shorter the time, the smaller the group should be); and the nature of the task.

2) Assign the students to groups. For a variety of reasons, heterogeneous groups tend to be more powerful than extreme homogeneity. A lot of the power for learning in cooperative groups come from the need for discussion, explanation, justification, and shared resolution on the material being learned. Quick consensus without discussion does not enhance learning as effectively as having different perspectives discussed, arguing different alternatives, explaining to members who need help and thoroughly delving into the material.

3) Arrange the classroom. Group members need to be close together and facing each other, and the teacher as well as members of other groups need to have clear access to all groups. Within the groups, members need to be able to see the relevant materials, converse with each other easily, and exchange materials and ideas.

4) Provide the appropriate materials. Providing one answer sheet to be turned in by the group with everyone's signature is one way to emphasize the positive interdependence. Another technique is to "jigsaw" the material so that each student has a part and responsibilities associated with their piece of the assignment (i.e., reading to the group, researching and reporting back for discussion, etc.).

Explain the task and cooperative goal structure to the students. A clear and specific description of the task needs to be given coupled with an explanation of the group goal. The group goal communicates that group members are in this together and need to be as concerned with other group members' understanding of the material as they are with their own. The reward system needs to be consistent with the structure. Students will more easily understand the group goal if they are turning in a single paper that each group member is able to defend, or can receive bonus points on the basis of how well each group member does, or will be able to skip the next quiz (or get extra recess) on the basis of a group score. It is also important to establish criteria for success as a classroom in order to make intergroup cooperation possible and extend the cooperativeness across the class. It is also necessary to specify the basic behaviors you expect to see in the groups so that students have an "operational" definition of what cooperation is.

Monitor the groups as they work. The teacher needs to monitor carefully how well the groups are functioning; determine what skills are lacking, both related to the subject matter and to the interaction; set up a way for the groups to process how well they functioned and discuss how to do even better; and intervene where problems are serious to help groups work out their own problems. It is probable that some specific instruction will need to be focused on interpersonal skills as students will not have necessarily learned how to work with others effectively.

It is important to note that the cooperative group does not take the place of instruction, but instead translates it and makes it useful. The teacher will still need to introduce new material and students will need to research and study so that they have something to share with their peers within the group.

Teachers in the school districts and colleges where we have been working have mastered the strategies for structuring cooperative learning groups and the techniques for teaching interpersonal skills so that now they automatically can set up lessons cooperatively and monitor them effectively. In addition, they have learned to be more careful in setting up appropriate individualistic and competitive learning situations.


Our research and the research of many others has established that having students work together cooperatively is a powerful way for them to learn and has positive effects on the classroom climate. This has been verified by teachers in classrooms from preschool through graduate school. However, the importance of emphasizing cooperative learning groups in classrooms goes beyond achievement, acceptance of differences, and positive attitudes. The ability of all students to learn to work cooperatively with others is the keystone to building and maintaining stable marriages, families, careers, and friendships. Being able to perform technical skills such as reading, speaking, listening, writing, computing, problem-solving, etc., are valuable but of little use if the person cannot apply those skills in cooperative interaction with other people in career, family, and community settings. The most logical way to emphasize the use of student's knowledge and skills within a cooperative framework, such as they will meet as members of society, is to spend much of the time learning those skills in cooperative relationships with each other. We need to get back to the basics, reconcile school practice with current research, and encourage a healthy portion of instruction to be cooperative.


Johnson, D. and R. Johnson, Circles of Learning, Washington, DC: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1984.

Johnson, D. and R. Johnson, Learning Together and Alone, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1983.

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