Cooperative Learning – Exploring Hidden Possibilities
When it comes to teaching, it may seem challenging to aim for new perspectives related to refining the Learning Process. In this context, phenomena like Globalization and the advent of the Internet exemplify that students’ minds have constantly changed, showing that school subjects have to be taught under a new glance. Opposing to individualistic practices, Cooperative Learning is an excellent way to introduce 21st century students to a changing world, letting their voices be heard and bringing back interaction to the classroom.
Whenever teamwork is valorized, a more meaningful knowledge is produced. By working together, students can get effectively involved with the issues they study and be stimulated to share resources and information with each other, so that everyone’s learning is maximized. Rather than being shy and not asking questions, through Cooperative Learning students are invited to expose doubts that enrich the learning environment.
Adopting Cooperative Learning, however, is an initiative that requires overcoming a few barriers that might harm its implementation, such as:
1. Lack of dialogue
A classroom must be seen as a mix of behaviors, where both teacher and students are protagonists. Always avoiding verbal aggression, conflicts must be solved through dialogue, taking into consideration everyone’s feelings. Moreover, diversity of thought must be preserved in order to protect students’ beliefs and opinions. After all, individuals with high self-esteem are much more likely to understand that cooperation is needed.
2. Not keeping the classroom safe
There is only one secret to stop difficult students from making a mess out of the classroom: showing them that respect is a great value so that they not only become more mature, but also embody an incomparable cooperative principle.
3. Being afraid of collectivity
Refusing to work as a team is unacceptable. Therefore, this fear must be discussed and eradicated by implementing cooperative strategies step by step, so that the classroom can become a more positive and productive environment. To execute teamwork more efficiently, teachers must seek activities that lead students to enjoy working cooperatively, putting theory into practice.
4. Not knowing how to work together
A group is defined as a system where all its components are supposed to do a specific job in search of a singular product. Because of this, it is always important to know each one’s weaknesses and strengths. If the group members are willing and prepared to work together, progress will be easily achieved.
Furthermore, the benefits of inserting Cooperative Learning into the classroom also include an advanced comprehension of how skills are developed when teamwork is focused and an improved view of students’ singularities. After all, cooperation can be perfectly defined as the key to success.
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” (Henry Ford)