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It is becoming more and more difficult to motivate student success because so many of our students come to the classroom with varying abilities and lack of interest in learning; thus, more and more educators are trying to find the right tool for managing classrooms in order to promote student success. When searching for ways to promote student success, teachers should consider “activities to actively engage, challenge, and focus individual productivity as well as the productivity of the group” (McCracken, 2005). According to McCracken, “as a classroom management strategy, cooperative learning enhances student interest, motivation, success, creativity, understanding, and equality.” She also suggests cooperative learning can help teachers create activities that will grab the attention of all students. The ultimate key, according to McCracken, is to create activities that will “benefit the individual learner.”
McCracken’s ideas concerning the learning ability of students is particularly interesting to me because our classrooms are populated with varying groups of student learners. Therefore, if children learn best by working with others then I would encourage teachers to consider creative ways to develop activities that can accommodate different learners and different learning styles. This, I feel is key to McCracken’s ideas concerning cooperative learning. For instance, she suggests that teachers must first identify the learning styles of their students; then “choose groups to reflect a diversity of viewpoints, abilities, gender, race and other characteristics.” I maintain that this not only creates an even playing field for all individual learners, but it also is a constructive way to “balance interdependence with individual accountability”
Secondly, McCracken’s idea that cooperative learning helps to “balance interdependence with individual accountability” is another strong reason why I support her ideas concerning cooperative learning. I also believe cooperative learning (when used effectively in the classroom) “can help to build and strengthen relationships among students”. Specifically, I like the idea that students “can assist [other students] through the use of peer teaching.” Moreover, I also believe this method of teaching might be “especially effective with students who struggle academically as well as students with self-esteem issues.”
Ultimately, I believe in the power of cooperative learning particularly when used as a classroom management strategy. I think that it has been used effectively to help students “actively engage and focus so that they can build individual productivity as well as help to create productivity within the group.” And, I also believe it is useful and effective as a way to help students who may benefit from a strong peer relationship. Essentially, I believe when used appropriately “cooperative learning is a teaching strategy in which small groups or teams, comprised of students of different levels of ability, [learn to] work together to accomplish shared goals and to maximize their own and each other’s learning.