Cooperative Learning: Prevalence, Conceptualizations, and the Relation Between Research and Practice
This study examined the prevalence, conceptualization, and form of cooperative learning used by elementary school teachers. Responding to a survey, 93% of teachers (n = 85) from six elementary schools in two districts indicated they used cooperative learning. In interviews with a subset of those teachers (n = 21), all indicated having daily cooperative lessons in several subjects. The majority of teachers subscribed to cooperative learning to achieve both academic and social learning goals, structured tasks for positive interdependence, and taught students skills for working in small groups. When we applied criteria for cooperative learning derived from the research literature, few teachers were employing recognized forms of this practice, primarily because they did not tie individual accountability to group goals. Implications for communication between researcher-developers and teachers are discussed.