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Cooperative learning : an introduction to a secondary school


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Yaxley, Corowa 1996 , 'Cooperative learning : an introduction to a secondary school', Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This dissertation is a record of a secondary school teacher's journey in professional study
and practice. It explores the case for moving towards cooperative learning as the
dominant pedagogy. While providing support for the change from the technical,
competitive paradigm to this social model of classroom interaction, the study takes
account of critical commentary.
The journey began as a quest for an inclusive model of classroom interaction, one which
would facilitate the teaching and learning of students in heterogeneous class groups. As
cooperative learning appeared to offer the most promise, it was investigated, using a list
of questions among which were:
What is 'cooperative learning'?
What are its outcomes?
Why are they 'superior'?
What do its critics say?
Conducted in the light of practice, this study explains what is meant by the term
'cooperative learning'. As well as the presentation of the outcomes claimed for the
model, there is detailed supporting evidence. This takes the form of explanations of the
cognitive and social theories underpinning its principles. The views of critics of the
approach, together with responses to the concerns they express, are included.
Study revealed that cooperative learning requires a different culture from that created by
either the competitive or the individualistic patterns of interaction. Hence, an important
part of the experience was the gathering of and the reflection on information for leading
teachers and students in the construction of a collaborative environment supportive of
the model. This comprises a vital and extensive section of the record. Following
introduction to various schools of cooperative learning, specially designed delivery
structures are presented. These are patterns of interaction, principally created for small
groups, developed to use cognitive and social theories to advantage in student learning.
A range of structures which may be used to facilitate learning across the disciplines is described. Through their detailed examination, it becomes clear that cooperative
learning is a highly sophisticated model of teaching and learning, one demanding much
knowledge, skill, practice, reflection and collegial support. All of these, it is said, may
take experienced teachers several years to develop. Cooperative learning is shown to be
quite different from traditional 'group work'.
This record concludes with the story of the application of the learning on the cooperative
approach in an actual classroom. This is expanded to tell of the beginning of its transfer
to the whole school. The work in and through cooperative learning was such that
colleagues, not initially interested in the philosophy, attended workshops where they
were introduced to its ethos and experienced examples of its delivery structures. The
final paragraph tells of strategies leading to the decision by all teachers at Reece High
School to participate in a spaced, year-long professional development program designed
to promote cooperative learning as the leading methodology.
Very much work in progress, the journey continues.

Item Type: Thesis - Coursework Master
Authors/Creators:Yaxley, Corowa
Keywords: Team learning approach in education, Group work in education, Interaction analysis in education, Education, Secondary
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1996 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Includes bibliographical references. Thesis (M.Ed.St.)--University of Tasmania, 1997

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