The application of cooperative learning to classroom teaching finds its root in the 1970s when Israel and the United States initiated to design and study cooperative learning models for classroom context (Kessler, 1992). Nowadays cooperative learning is applied in nearly all school content areas and, to a greater extent, in college and university contexts worldwide (Johnson & Johnson, 1989; Kessler, 1992). Scholars such as Johnson and Johnson (1990), Kagan (1990), and Slavin (1995) argued that cooperative learning is an effective teaching method in foreign and second language education and it is commonly declared that cooperative learning is the best alternative for students since it put emphasis on active interaction among students of different abilities and backgrounds (Nelson, Gallagher, & Coleman, 1993; Tsai, 1998; Wei, 1997; Yu, 1995) and displays more positive student results in academic achievement, social behavior, and affective development.
There is a rich body of literature supporting the notion that students can achieve higher levels of achievement by the way of working together in groups which is attained in turn by dividing the students into small groups which work together to accomplish the best group outcomes through shared and common assistance among the group members. Partners in each group have to work on the assigned task and they know that the success or failure of any individual will have great effect on the outcome of the whole group (Johnson & Johnson, 1994).
A fundamental principle of cooperative leaning is that when members of groups are attached together in a way that they apprehend that they cannot be successful unless they all do, they will actively help each other to make sure that the task is accomplished and the group’s purpose and aim is fulfilled (Deutsch, 1994). Gillies (2004) mentioned that they reach this same goal by providing assistance with the task, sharing resources, and stimulating each other’s trials and efforts. As the outcome, group members working in cooperative groups beat and perform much better than those working by themselves or in competitive mode (the same as what they do in traditional cooperative learning) (Johnson & Johnson, 1999). Likewise, cooperative leaning concentrates on adults’ longings to interact with peers, exercise autonomy over their learning, and signify their desires to attain (Slavin, 1995). As a matter of fact, Johnson, Johnson, & Stanne (2000) have argued that cooperative learning experiences are essential to avoiding and lessening many social problems linked to children, adolescents, and adults. Absolutely, the social benefits that accumulated from cooperative learning experiences have been well recorded (Jordan & Le Metaias, 1997; Kamps, Dugan, Leonard, & Daoust, 1994; Slavin, 1995). Although, as long as large number of studies have appeared on the advantages that students gain from cooperative learning experiences, not very much is known about what takes place in groups to assist the progress of learning and what apprehensions students have of their cooperative learning experiences. it is significant to understand what occurs while students are working cooperatively together, the way they interact in order to facilitate learning and how they notice these experiences, so as to understand how this approach to learning can be applied more effectively in cooperative learning to reach academic and also social goals.
To discover the effects of Cooperative leaning, focusing on Johnson and Johnson’s (1994) Learning Together model of cooperative learning is much fruitful since the five fundamental principles of their approach of developing group learning is extensively applicable in any cooperative learning context. Vaughan (2002) posited that cooperative learning is important and critical to the cultivation of academic and individual success as a support of Johnson and Johnson’s model. Johnson, Johnson, and Smith (1998) went through a hundred and sixty eight different studies which were comparing cooperative leaning to more traditional approaches of instruction concentrating on students’ achievement in order to strengthen the case for using cooperative leaning. They discovered that learning is made much easier by the application of active cooperative leaning rather than a passive one. Rimmerman (2004) pointed to Johnson and Johnson’s work as the modern era of cooperative leaning. Their model of cooperative leaning is known as Learning Together and can be applied to any discipline and grade level.
The essential features in the model of Learning Together of cooperative leaning are based on some general theoretical perspectives. It is believed that cooperative leaning origins from three various theoretical perspectives which are social interdependence, cognitive development, and behavioral learning (Johnson & Johnson, 1994).
2.8.1. Social Interdependence Perspective
Social interdependence perspective is the first basic theory that started in the early 1900’s. Deutsch (1994), a supporter of the social interdependence theory, believes that the individuals’ interaction is determined by the way that social interdependence is structured. There are two different ways of interaction. One is done through “promotive” interaction, that results from positive interdependence among group members and the other one, oppositional interaction, that comes from negative interdependence where each member tries hard to minimize or avoid other members’ success.
2.8.2. Cognitive Development Perspectives
Cognitive development perspectives purported by Piaget (1965), is the second theoretical perspective underlying cooperative learning. The cognitive development theory suggests that when members of a group are involved in cooperative learning task, they will take parts in discussion where cognitive conflicts might show up and these conflicts will then be resolved. Participants will show their information and points of view, discuss each other’s information and insights, identify weakness in each other’s reasoning strategies, make corrections and learn new information and concepts from each other.
2.8.3. Behavioral Social Perspectives
The last perspective which is advocated by Bandura (1977) is the behavioral social perspective. The behavioral learning theory puts emphasis on the effects of group reinforcement and the extrinsic motivation for learning. The principle backs up Slavin’s (1983) theory that extrinsic group rewards would enhance further interaction and accumulate efforts to learn among cooperative learning group members.
Johnson and Johnson (1994) assisted a five-component theory, that in cooperative learning five crucial factors for maximizing the success of the cooperative learning approach. The elements are positive interdependence, individual accountability, face to face “promotive” interaction, social skills and group processing. The five elements of cooperative learning are briefly described below.
184.108.40.206. Positive Interdependence
The first major element and the heart of cooperative learning is positive interdependence. Students have to accept that they are linked with others in a way that one cannot succeed unless the other members of the group succeed (and vice versa), that is to say they should understand that they sink or swim together. Students are working together to get the job done. In other words, students must perceive that they “sink or swim together.” Members perceive that they are connected in such a way that one cannot succeed unless every one succeeds (Johnson & Johnson, 1994). Smith (1996) mentioned that in formal cooperative learning groups, positive interdependence might by structured by asking group members to:
(1) Agree on an answer for the group (group product-goal interdependence),
(2) Assure each member can explain the groups’ answer (learning goal interdependence),
(3) Fulfilling assigned role responsibilities (role interdependence).
/>Other ways of structuring positive interdependence include having common rewards such as a shared grade (reward interdependence), shared resources (resource interdependence), or a division of labor (task interdependence).
220.127.116.11. Individual Accountability/Personal Responsibility
Personal responsibility is the second significant element of cooperative learning. The goal is to make each member of a group a stronger individual in his or her own right. Each member is responsible for their own learning along with that of their group members. Students learn together so that afterwards they can perform better as individuals. To ensure that each member is strengthened, students are held individually accountable to do their share of the work. The performance of each individual student is evaluated and the outcomes given back to the individual and maybe to the group (Smith, 1996). He also mentioned that the group requires recognizing who needs more help in completing the assignment, and group members require knowing they cannot “hitch-hike” on the work of others. The group is accountable for achieving its goals and each member is responsible toward contributing his or her share of work (Johnson & Johnson, 1994). Usual and common ways to structure individual accountability involve giving an individual exam to each student, unexpectedly calling one individual to talk about their group’s answer, and giving an individual oral exam as long as monitoring group work.
18.104.22.168. Face-to-Face Promotive Interaction
After establishing positive interdependence, it must be made sure that students interact to provide assistance to each other for accomplishing the task and enhancing each other’s success and also it takes place when individuals encourage and facilitate each group member’s effort to achieve the group goals(Aziz & Hossain, 2010).The support and encouragement included are established verbally and nonverbally . Students are anticipated to orally explain to other group members how to solve problems, discuss the nature of the concepts and strategies being learned, teach their knowledge to classmates, explain to each other the links between present and past learning, and help, encourage, and support each other’s efforts to learn (Smith, 1996). Students do real work together in which they promote each other’s success by sharing resources, helping, supporting, encouraging and praising each other’s efforts to learn (Johnson & Johnson, 1994). Silent students are not involved students that are not contributing to the learning of others or themselves.
22.214.171.124. Teamwork Skills
The fourth element involves the proper use of small-group and interpersonal skill. Whenever one student works with others, contributing to the success, social skill is required (Aziz & Hossain, 2010). Students should have and use the required leadership, decision-making, trust-building, communication, and conflict-management skills. These skills have to be taught just as purposefully and precisely as academic skills (Smith, 1996). For many students working in cooperative context is totally new and, hence, lack the required teamwork skills for so doing effectively. Students must know how to communicate and manage conflicts.
126.96.36.199. Group Processing
The final important factor is group processing. This one is an evaluation level for groups to discuss their performance, how well students are achieving their goals and maintaining effective working relationships (Aziz & Hossain, 2010). Students must have sufficient time to think about how well they are achieving the shared goal and also the task should be made specific rather than vague. A common procedure for group processing is to question each group to list at least three things the group did well and at least one thing that could be improved.
Groups require being able to describe what actions are beneficial and which are not and make decisions about what to