collaborative learning and cooperative learning.mine
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Written by: H.O.D. Noura Al-Bedaiwi
Ministry of Education - AL-ADAILEYA PRIMARY SCHOOL FOR GIRLS
Collaborative Learning and Cooperative Learning
Developing students language proficiency skill is not the main aspect in the
new KNCS. The new curriculum integrates cognitive and social skills with
the language proficiency skill to construct an individual capable of providing
his/her own needs and find their own voice leading to an independent
community led by morals and sound judgements taking into consideration
the differences of communities and cultures within Kuwait and within other
As educators, our mission is to move from pedagogy to andragogy, from
instructing to facilitating and to shift from only using teaching center
approach to using learner center approach; the two approaches should be
used and designed according to competences development through the
curriculum; whether to use cooperative or collaborative learning depends
on what competence to be developed, learners needs and the purpose of
the task provided.
Cooperative and collaborative learning help students build confidence and
self-esteem as well as their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.
They guide students interaction and help them to practice the language
they know in communicative situations. They help students to be
autonomous learners using lower and higher order thinking skills integrated
with feasible social behaviors; such learning direct learners to find suitable
strategies to cooperate and collaborate with their peers demonstrating
proper social behaviors.
Ted Panitz defines cooperative learning approach as a structure of
interaction designed to facilitate the accomplishment of a specific end
product or goal through people working together in groups.1 It is content
specific applied through instructional strategies to achieve the teachers
objective; the answers to the questions/tasks are provided by the teacher.
In other words, the teacher controls group distribution of members and
roles, sets the answers for the tasks and is the main source of information.
The teacher provides knowledge of the topic and then measures through
cooperative group work the content students learned.
Cooperative learning approach is argued to be more suitable for young
learners as it develops their social skills and language proficiency using
specified instructions suitable for their age. Its focus is on the result of a
task not the process of performing the task; such an approach develops
lower cognitive skills. Instructional strategies, like think-pair-share and
multiple choice questions2 engage students in controlled discussions to find
a determined answer. It is usually constructed in small groups, which makes
it easier to observe and to complete the task in time.
Collaborative learning (CL) approach is a method of teaching and learning
in which students team together to explore a significant question or create
a meaningful project.3 Learners choose their groups, which can be of a
large scale, their roles and extend on more than one possible answer
supporting it with reasons. It emphasizes on the process of completing the
task not the result.
CL utilize higher order cognitive skills. It encourages students to investigate,
question and provide their own assumptions using different metacognitive
and cognitive skills contrasting their own opinions and ideas to their
classmates. Such an approach can be suitable for young learners once it is
designed to be age appropriate. Open ended questions, such as what do
you think of the story? Why did you like it? What is the most interesting
character? encourages young learners to express their own opinion. The
teacher can set certain pictures agreed upon to present the previous
questions for students to use while working in groups; the task can be of
oral and written nature. Young learners can speak with their groups and
draw their own character and what they found interesting colouring their
choices and writing one word or a short sentence expressing their own
The teacher needs to remember grammar and spelling are not the main
concern in collaborative learning. It aims to support their interdependent
learning; the teacher can offer guidance to young learners but not control
Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation are important to have learners interact
with each other. Rewards (extrinsic) or enjoying the learning process
(intrinsic) can encourage students to work together and engage in short
conversations. It is the teachers mission to facilitate and motivate learning
for young learners regarding students needs and interests. Young learners
may not be motivated intrinsically; the satisfaction of learning does not
motivate young learners. Praise and other extrinsic motives effect young
learners and motivates them to learn. Therefore, choosing cooperative or
collaborative learning relies on what competences to be developed and
how far learners have advanced in contrast to the curriculum standards.
1. KNCS: Kuwait National Curriculum and Standards
2. Cognitive: the cognitive domain of blooms taxonomy addresses thinking
skills starting from remembering as the lowest thinking skill to creating as
the highest thinking skill.
3. Pedagogy: addresses teachers needs and plans in a competitive climate
4. Andragogy: encourages self-assessment, mutual planning of a task in a
collaborative non-competitive atmosphere.
5. autonomous: independent learner where is held responsible for his/her
6. instructional strategies: activities designed by teachers.
7. metacognitive: thinking about thinking; a learner uses thinking processes
and data to find results, then examines and evaluates his/her own thinking
processes and data again to measure the accurateness of the results.
1. Collaborative Versus Cooperative Learning A Comparison of the Two
Concepts; Ted Panitz; U.S. Department of Education - Office of Educational
Research and Improvement: Educational Resources Information Center
2. Strategies for Cooperative and Collaborative Learning in Large Lecture
Groups; ACU: Australian Catholic University; SKC LTC resources 2012.