What is Co-operative Learning?
Success for All provides a highly effective, consistent whole-school teaching and learning approach termed ‘Co-operative Learning’. The explicit aim is to enable children to maximise progress and to become highly-skilled, independent learners.
Co-operative Learning is the bedrock of the entire programme and is a strategy which has been researched, developed and refined by the Success for All team since the 1980’s. Used effectively, it will result in children who feel safe, relaxed and happy at school and who willingly work hard because they want to do well and make progress.
Co-operative Learning is based on five Co-operative Learning Behaviours that are explicitly modelled so children develop excellent behaviour for learning. Positive feedback motivates children to consistently embed the strategies modelled and to embrace the next strategy presented. In this way, Nursery children learn how to behave and learn and by Year 6 children have highly developed meta-cognitive skills.
Many of the ideas in this programme are established teaching strategies that are widely used and considered best practice. What differentiates this programme from others is the step by step guidance designed to ensure that all the strategies are implemented consistently in every classroom across the school.
Peer learning is key to Co-operative Learning. Beginning in Nursery, and continuing to Year 6, children work and talk with their peers supporting each other, gaining and embedding social, language and learning skills. Perhaps the most important feature of Co-operative Learning is that it ensures that all children in the classroom are actively included and involved in learning. Children enjoy being active participants and feeling successful.
A major advantage is that consistent strategies for teaching and classroom management are used by all staff. Children can then focus on their learning rather than having to adapt to different approaches. Schools also develop a clear, shared understanding of good practice facilitating the formation of a genuine ‘learning community’.
The aim is to make the requirements for effective Co-operative Learning transparent to everybody in school, empowering both classroom teachers and school leaders. The result? Children who feel supported in their learning and prepared for the next stage of their lives.
The Benefits of Co-operative Learning
- Progress and Attainment: the effects on children’s progress and attainment are positive and long-lasting, regardless of age or subject matter.
- Attendance: children are more engaged and attendance increases because their contributions are solicited, respected, and celebrated.
- Improved relations: children who work co-operatively learn to value each other regardless of ethnicity, disability or other differences.
- Critical thinking skills: frequent opportunities for critical thinking significantly improves children’s skills in this area.
- Communication and language: co-operative learning provides a structure for children to communicate frequently during lessons, significantly improving their communication and language skills.
- Social skills: as children learn to work together, their social skills improve.
- Heightened self-esteem: when children’s work is valued by team members, their self-esteem increases dramatically.