Cooperative skills are necessary to work effectively in a group, not only for learning in schools but also for success in the workplace and getting on with people in the home and community. Teachers structure cooperative activities where two or more children are working together towards the same goals. Many teachers teach cooperative skills to children to promote cohesiveness and responsibility in the classroom.
Cooperative skills may include:
- managing differences
- problem solving
- working as a group
- forming groups
The outcomes of cooperative learning may be described as follows:
- learning is enjoyable
- leadership skills are developed
- positive attitudes are promoted
- a sense of belonging is created
- self esteem is promoted
- positive peer relationships are built
- children are encouraged to take responsibility for their learning
The role of the teacher is to demonstrate cooperative skills in action and support children as they learn these skills in the context of daily class activities. It is not assumed that all children have the skills to work well together. The teacher may need to make these skills explicit and allow for plenty of practice.