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Fundamentals of Cooperative Learning

The opposition to cooperative learning does not stem from its performance with respect to learning outcomes. Rather, the opposition stems from changes under the cooperative learning concept made to both the reward structure, and the concept of student accountability (Slavin, 19891990b). Under the cooperative learning concept, individual student accountability is replaced by group accountability (Schultz, 19891990), and students are rewarded not on the basis of their own performance alone, but, rather, on the basis of the performance of their group (Shanker, 1990).

The positive benefits with respect to learning outcomes attributed to the application of the cooperative learning concept are many and varied. Some of the more important of the attributed benefits are as follows:

1. Comprehension of content in reading is improved (Gauthier, 1989).

2. Spelling competency is improved for average, lowachieving, and gifted students (Augustine, 19891990).

3. Mathematics competency is improved for students of all ability levels (Good, 19891990; Slavin, 19891990a).

4. Learning outcomes in elementary school science instruction is improved (Hannigan, 19891990).

5. Social skills, conflict settlement, and group cooperation are fostered (Johnson, & Johnson, 19891990).

6. Learning foreign language skills is facilitated (Gollert, 1989).

7. Facility in the development of computer problem solving skills


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