27 mars 2012

"Cooperative learning" (Critical Guide, E.D. Hirsch Jr)

A term describing the pedagogical method of breaking up a class into teams of five or so students who cooperate to complete a joint task or project. 

One of its advantages lies in its use of more advanced students to help and teach less advanced ones, thus promoting the education of both groups, so long as the two groups are not too far apart in academic preparation. The method still retains vestiges of its historical origins in progressivist practices, when group cooperation was elevated above competition and individual achievement. 

Recently, parents have complained that capable children who want to do more and better work are sometimes discouraged on the grounds of "not cooperating" with the group. 

The wise and effective orchestration of several groups in a classroom is difficult to do well, needing careful monitoring, clear purposes, and definite incentives. A faith that the method itself will providentially take care of results is not warranted. 

Cooperative learning, used with restraint, can be an excellent method of instruction when used in conjunction with whole-class instruction. It has not been effective when used as the principal or exclusive means of instruction.



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This was an excerpt from Hirsch's great book on education :
The Schools We Need 
 and Why We Don't Have Them.
Recension by Richard Askey :  
http://mathematicallycorrect.com/hirsch.htm  
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