Visible Learning – Cooperative, competitive, individualistic and heterogeneous class environments.

Visible Learning by John Hattie (2009)

I have been reading Hattie’s  (2009, pp212-214)  summation of the research regarding cooperative learning and have been encouraged to see that there is a positive learning gain from its inclusion in our teaching as compared to individualistic teaching pedagogies.  Also there are links to some of the other  skills considered important in the 21st century such as deep/critical thinking,  problem solving, communication and social interactions.

I was interested to read about the comparison of cooperative and competitive teaching, where both are shown to have positive gains, though cooperative teaching had larger gains over competitive.  Rather than thinking I should be doing even more cooperative tasks I am considering including more competition between the different groups within my existing cooperative tasks.  Hattie (2009) also notes that providing tangible rewards to students in these situations has its benefits.

The most thought provoking aspect of Hattie’s (2009) summary is the links between cooperative learning and interpersonal relationships, which points to the power of friendships in producing  better student achievement.  Hattie includes the following  quote.

If you want to increase student academic achievement, give each student a friend (Roseth, Fang, Johnson, & Johnson, 2006, p. 7).

This has left me wondering about how to improve the social interactions of my students so that they experience an increased sense of well being, belonging, and self worth that produces  increased positive feelings about school and learning.  Hattie(2009) suggest that it is structured and well planed  tasks (cooperative or competitive) that unleash the potential of peer learning .

Hattie, J. (2009). Visible Learning: a synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. London: Routledge.

Roseth, C. J., Fang, F., Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (2006). Effects of cooperative learning on middle schools students: a meta analysis. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] reading and reflecting on the benefits of cooperative learning I am thinking it might be worth another […]

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