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Cooperative learning- pros and cons

             Cooperative learning is a very useful tool to use in schools, when used correctly and in appropriate settings. According to Kagan (1995), "One mission of schools, these proponents say, is to prepare students for the real world" (p. 68). There are many types of groupings including cooperative learning, collaborative learning and ability groupings, which all can all differ in learning outcomes. According to many researchers, high achievers may be at a disadvantage for many reasons including if the grades are evenly distributed, which may result in some "free loading" by some students. Cooperative learning can be successfully executed in a grade five to eight classroom by merely following the five elements of cooperative learning (Sokal, 2003, p. 46). .
             There are many types of groupings used in classrooms that can result in both positive and negative learning outcomes. According to Panitz (1996, p.1), "Cooperative learning is defined by a set of processes which help people interact together in order to accomplish a specific goal or develop an end product which is usually content specific. It is more directive that a collaborative system of governance and closely controlled by the teacher. While there are many mechanisms for group analysis and introspection the fundamental approach is teacher centered whereas collaborative learning is more student centered. According to Panitz (1996, p. 1), "Collaborative learning (CL) is a personal philosophy, not just a classroom technique. In all situations where people come together in groups, it suggests a way of dealing with people which respects and highlights .
             individual group members" abilities and contributions. There is a sharing of authority and acceptance of responsibility among group members for the groups actions." Ability .
             groupings are usually those that are predetermined by the teacher based on the students" academic performance.

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