University of Rome Foro Italico (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2021 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 3122-3128
ISBN: 978-84-09-34549-6
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2021.0775
Conference name: 14th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 8-9 November, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Does cooperative learning represent a really inclusive didactic strategy? Is it regularly used at school? Are teachers actually aware? What are the most critical and strongest elements? This work aims at answering to all these questions through an exploratory analysis focused on a sample of high school teachers in Rome. Cooperative Learning is a democratic way of managing the classroom, basically focused on heterogeneous working groups and equal opportunities for everybody to succeed. This learning method helps in developing a motivating and responsible educational context. It promotes harder work and participation, while improving interpersonal relationships. When carefully organised, this learning method relies on a social mediation that involves every diversity which is present within the class.

The goal will be to assess the teacher’s awareness, usage, strong and critical elements of cooperative learning. An 18-items survey will be developed at first and then administered to high school teachers. The survey designing stage mainly focused on two different investigation areas.
The first one (10 questions) focuses on the teacher’s approach towards diversified methods, on possible student’s involvement during the didactic design stage, on strategies based on work in groups and/or pairs and on the importance of such strategies in order to achieve expected specific and educational objectives. There are 4 specific questions asking teachers what they generically know about Cooperative Learning, if and how they know the theoretical requirements as well as implementation modes, how they are actually adopting this method within their didactic program and to what extent work in groups and Cooperative Learning are matching.
In the second area, teachers have been asked to rely on their direct experience in order to select some items aimed at underlining strong and critical elements of Cooperative Learning.

This is an exploratory study, not aiming at any kind of generalization and based on a judgmental sample school: an Hotel and Catering Training Institute in Rome. In April 2021, the School Office used Google modules to administer the survey to 91 teachers from every area. Data have been statistically processed.

36,3% of the sample declared that students are involved during the didactic design. A huge majority, 83,5%, stated that the use of diversified methods contributes to simplify the learning process, thus providing benefits in terms of class management and development. 81,3% of the teachers recognised the importance of stimulating and involving students with cooperative activities. However, how do teachers really rely on this method during their daily practices? 64,8% of the teachers stated that they actually adopt this method, but only 38,5% of the interviewed sample declared to implement Cooperative Learning during the didactic design, thus underlining a gap between theory and practice. As for the answers concerning the strongest points (self-efficiency promotion and social abilities) and the most critical elements (excessive planning, long time schemes), some research lines can be identified in order to strengthen and promote this practice within the school inclusive didactics.
Inclusive didactics, cooperative learning, teacher.