Johnson and Johnson's Thoughts on cooperative learning
Johnsons and Johnsons have great and matchless contribution in the field of cooperative learning. Cooperative learning is doubtlessly a great way of learning. It is a great field of research and study as well. Cooperative learning encourages students to work in groups and teams. The core aim of this group or team is to achieve a specific task. Groups are created at beginning of the semester, for some specific semester activity, or for any other collaborative purpose. In this new method of learning, students learn much more than what they can learn in the typical mode of learning.
According to Johnson and Johnson, there are five elements of cooperative learning. Though there are more than five, but the most basic elements or pillars of cooperative learning are: individual accountability, positive interdependence, face-to-face promotive interaction, Group processing, and Interpersonal and Small group skills. Positive interdependence refers to the 'feel' of each other. Students feel that they cannot work without the absence or one or more group members. The instructor can set the mutual goals in order to make the group move in a specific direction. Individual accountability refers to specific and group assessment that results in the skills and outcomes of each student and a whole group. Similarly, face-to-face promotive interaction encourages the students of a group by sharing and helping each other on specific topics. There can be one or more students of a group who don't have a good idea about some specific topic. But there can be a third student who is master of that topic. Interpersonal and small group skills refer to the social skills that each and every student of the group should have. It is necessary in order to have true and long term success of the group. Group processing refers to the assessment and remarking of the capabilities and actions of each group. For example, instructor can take three or four students from a group and can make an outline of what had made the group successful. Furthermore, the instructor can tell what points and factors can make the group even more successful in future.
Besides discussing these five basic elements of cooperative learning, Johnson and Johnsons have contributed a lot to the fruitful field of cooperative learning. There is no doubt that it is a great field of research and theory that involved researchers and scientists from every corner of the world. Johnson and Johnsons have also contributed a lot in defining the cooperative learning terminology. For example, 'critical thinking item' refers to those items which require synthesis and analysis in addition with the evaluation of conceptual framework of each and every student in the group. Similarly, drill and practical problem refers to those problems which are related to factual knowledge.
Johnson and Johnsons consider cooperative learning not only a great method of teaching and learning but also a great subject of research and analysis. It is not only an interesting subject but it is also very fruitful in judging student and making them more capable of performing tasks.