COOPERATIVE LEARNING IN PRIMARY SCHOOL: A PRACTICAL EXERCISE
University of Salerno (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:This contribution describes an experience of cooperative learning in primary school. In particular, it is about an experiment conducted in two third classes (experimental class and control class) of a primary school in the province of Salerno (Mercato San Severino) in order to verify and compare the effectiveness of cooperative learning techniques and traditional ones. The research is divided into two parts corresponding to a twofold focus with which it was decided to set the experiment: a didactic aspects and other social skills. As regards the teaching of research, it was decided to proceed by identifying three theoretical reference cooperative models and selecting for each cooperative techniques specific learning units. These learning units were presented to pupils using experimental co-operative techniques, while in the control class the same learning unit has been developed through the traditional methodology of the lesson. Learning units identified are three: the first was treated through the model of Student Team Learning of Slavin with the technique of Jigsow; the second unit was presented by following a methodology through cooperative Learning Model Together by Johnson and Johnson with the technique of the dispute; the third unit was illustrated using the model of Collaborative Approach to Cowie and, in particular, making use of Circle Time technique. The choice of associating each of these topics to a particular cooperative technique was not accidental, but it came from a specific reflection on the adequacy of approach compared to the various topics covered in the three units. The assessment has taken into account, together with the score resulting from the trial, even by other factors, such as respect for social rules, the ability of cooperation and mutual support. For testing we used objective tests (multiple-choice item). The second unit of learning, Introduction to the Constitution, was held to introduce the Citizenship legislation and Constitution and to show children the importance of respect for the rules that is the basis of life within a community. The goals were set in terms of: knowledge of the concepts of dictatorship, anarchy, democracy, Constitution, ability to understand the limitations on their freedom to act, to express their views and to understand one another ability to debate and to cooperate in groups. At the end children have produced texts on the learned concepts. In the third learning unit was presented "the Sun slices" to represent the meaning of the word "friendship" and to stimulate children to think about this concept also to promote mutual understanding, communication and cooperation. The results show that the children of the experimental group, mainly stimulated discussion and comparison, have achieved better results in verification tests relative to the first and the third unit (mountain, friendship), strengthening the ties and mutual understanding within the class. Experimental class children have, however, shown considerable difficulties with the technique used for the second unit (introduction to the Constitution), for reasons related to both the type of cooperative work and the subject matter.
Keywords: Cooperative learning, pro-social conduct, sociocultural paradigms, assessment and evaluation.