In this interview with Dr. Roger Johnson, Author, Director of Cooperative Learning Institute at the University of Minnesota, talks about the what cooperative learning actually means, how it contrasts with competitive learning, and the research that has been conducted around its effectiveness.
“When you put people together to learn, and get them really invested in each others’ learning, a lot of good things happen: achievement goes up, they develop more positive attitudes towards the subject matter, towards each other – even in very diverse settings, more acceptance of differences grows, self-esteem increases. So on lots and lots of different measures, we are saying, essentially, in the classroom when people are learning, people are at their best when they are connected to each other and maybe at their worst when they are isolated from one another for long periods of time.” (TVSBSC Interview)
This is an ideal interview to watch/listen to as a conclusion to this module. Dr. Johnson touches on several themes and ideas that have been covered in the previous pages – the importance of knowing your peers and supporting them, team building, trust building – and ties them together with a theory of teaching and learning that has been well researched, tested, and proven effective in not only creating peaceable learning environments but also increasing educational achievement and preparing students for life and work outside of school.
Reflection Question: At about 5 minutes into the interview, Dr. Johnson describes five elements of cooperative learning that draw from social interdependence theory – positive interdependence, individual accountability, cooperative skills, group processing, and face to face interaction. Think of a learning experience of which you have been a part where at least one of these elements was effectively practiced or demonstrated. What did that experience look like and how was it facilitated?
- Johnson, David & Johnson, Roger. Learning Together and Alone: Cooperative, Competitive, and Individualistic Learning. Allyn & Bacon; 5 edition (October 11, 1998).
- Kohn, Alfie. Learning Together: A Defense and Analysis of Cooperative Learning.
- Southern Center for Active Learning Excellence. Cooperative Learning in Action. Patrick Henry Community College.