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The best and worst of cooperative learning in elementary school children


More and more teachers are choosing to use active learning methodologies in their classrooms, and cooperative learning is one of them. What is cooperative learning? What advantages does it have for the learning of primary school children? Some inconvenience? In our site we talk about the best and worst of this methodology in the classroom.

There are many educational experiences that show that cooperative learning in the classroom has many advantages compared to more individualistic and competitive learning. Although the ideal is to know how to combine the most appropriate methodology for each type of learning task.

When we speak of cooperative learning, we are not only referring to group work. Cooperative work in the classroom goes beyond mere teamwork, is a work methodology that requires planning and preparation by teachers and students.

Cooperative learning is a methodology based on the joint work of a group that has a common goal. This goal is achieved if all team members achieve it, therefore, the involvement of all members is necessary. The achievement of the objective is not individual but collective. It allows us to create situations where the only way to achieve individual goals is through team goals. This encourages students to value learning and the effort to learn much more, increases student motivation, and facilitates reinforcement and mutual help among peers.

The advantages of this type of methodologies are multiple, they affect the student himself, the classroom environment, and the quality of learning.

- It is flexible and can be adapted to the student
It is a methodology that allows us to adapt to the diversity of the students in the classroom, to their learning styles, to their needs, to the different abilities of the students, and to ensure that everyone, whatever they may be, learns.

- Teaches to learn
On the other hand, it favors meaningful learning on the part of students, since they will learn to learn. They become the center of the learning process, they build knowledge, they associate new knowledge with previous ones, a deeper learning is favored, and not so much rote and superficial and all this increases the motivation of students to learn.

- Improve relationships within the classroom
In addition to the advantages for learning itself, cooperative learning has very beneficial effects on the social and emotional area of ​​students, such as improving social relationships in the classroom, tolerance, integration and group cohesion, self-esteem and students' self-concept.

- Encourages thinking and communication
In addition, this type of learning facilitates the development of cognitive and metacognitive skills in students, such as developing communication skills, reflective thinking, helping students to clarify their ideas, to acquire planning skills and organization of tasks, evaluation of the own learning process, etc.

- Achieve more motivated students
All of this makes students more motivated to learn and more involved in acquiring knowledge.

As for the drawbacks or obstacles of this type of learning, we could find:

- Risk of simplification
If there is inadequate planning of work and activities by teachers, cooperative work simply remains in work groups.

- Lack of instruction to students
Failure to properly instruct or train students about cooperative work or lack of student experience can lead to failed, difficult, or complex learning experiences for students.

- It is not valid for all subjects
That the method used is not adapted to the learning objectives or content. That is, we must adapt the methodology used to what we are going to teach or we want the students to learn so that cooperative learning makes sense.

- Requires investment of resources
Not adapting the resources offered to the groups to the learning styles of the students. Thinking that cooperative learning is good in itself, but without adapting it to the students' styles and not offering enough resources to carry out the learning task.

Basically, the inconveniences or obstacles are related to aspects of the adequate planning of activities, the lack of foresight of resources, the lack of experience of the students in these types of activities or the tendency to sometimes view cooperative learning as wasted time.

In general terms, as we have seen here very briefly, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Don't you think?

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Video: Cooperative vs Collaborative (September 2020).