The following research paper would seek to review a series of cooperative learning strategies in early childhood education centres with the ability to enhance the development of social skills. The project will also analyze the psychological impacts of cooperative learning on the cognitive development on children under the age of 5. Finally, the project will seek to document the significance of cooperative learning by identifying the best strategies which lower grade teachers can invest in to achieve better social skills development among the minor.
Rahmat, (2018) defines educational psychology as the scientific study of behaviour and mental perceptions concerning the understanding, teaching and learning in the educational systems. According to him, there are three branches of educational psychology; however, this paper will seek to examine one of them concerning the educational perceptions of understanding, teaching, and learning.
Cooperative learning is usually presented in situations where a teacher or an instructor divides learners into distinct groups with a sole motive of maximizing both cognitive and social outcomes. Genrari et al. (2017) provide the necessary recommendations needed to be put in place while forming the groups. Various research projects done by different scholars have indicated the psychological, social, motivational and cognitive results of cooperative learning when compared with individual learning. Researchers have focused on trying to find these impacts at more advanced stages of learning leaving out the most fundamental stage where all the learning activities begin.
Some researchers have also argued that cooperative learning is not always effective in realizing educational goals, however, I believe this assertion is not true and that is why I have subsequently formulated this research project to carefully examine the efficiency of cooperative learning by analyzing the;
This research activity will seek to answer the following research question regarding the contribution of cooperative learning strategies in the social and cognitive development of the learners in the early grade.
This research project will seek to test the following hypotheses;
I believe the study would be used to identify cooperative learning as an instructional method that can be used by instructors in schools to encourage active learning among learners. Researchers have suggested that cooperative learning is a better tool to teach mathematics and number work in the preschool. Due to the various successes of the system in higher learning forums, I believe the system if checked properly would act to ensure that children would be given a chance to interact among themselves to fully maximize their learning outcomes.
This project will provide findings concerning cooperative learning that would be useful in teaching in the lower grades. Some of the assertions that this study will seek to examine are that cooperative learning promotes learning and cognitive development among learners in the lower grades as they learn, teach, guide and assist each other when solving group’s problems and completing their assigned tasks.
The elements of cognitive development that the study will seek to examine include; learner’s attention, memory, perception, creativity and problem-solving.
Gennari et al, (2017) have identified various methods that can be used to perfectly structure the groups meant for cooperative learning. However, it is important to choose the strategy that best suits your class when creating the learning groups while considering factors such as gender balance between the groups, the number of participants present in each group. It is usually important to structure smaller groups of about 5 children to interact personally with every member.
Gillies, (2016) argues that to realize the individual impacts of cooperative learning on the psychological and social skill development in each member of the group, the groups must engage in real tasks with individual contributions from each member. Each member of the group should be made to understand that the possibility of achieving the team goal was due to his /her contributions.
The introduction of individual responsibility by teachers ensures that the members of the groups participate and would be used as a determinant of individual learning. The primary goal of cooperative learning has been that every member masters, understands and integrates the materials which the team is working with. Cooperative learning has always been based on the idea that how a group is constituted either positively or negatively influences the internal interactions between members to finally determine the learning outcomes. The exchange of information and sharing of ideas among members has also been identified as a positive enhancer to the learning outcomes; this is among the basic notions that my research paper will find out.
Considering the development of social skills that my research will seek to find out, due regard has been given to confrontation and conflicts resolution within the learning groups; socio-cognitive conflicts coupled with social influence in the groups I believe would be a better learning strategy for the learners. It is noted that learning comes from conflict and disagreements among people to the extent that a third party comes in to allow and give them a chance to develop new knowledge.
However taking into consideration the age of the participants in this project, it is important to note that it would be the activity of the presiding teacher or the instructor within the learning facility to solve conflicts and explain the correct position to the learners in case of a conflict.
Conflicts usually come from the divergence of ideas especially in situations where each person believes they have the correct idea, through the conflict resolution; it is usually believed that cognitive development especially through the deep processing and understanding of information. This is what I intend to find through my project by determining the level of cognitive development among the learners in the lower grade. Cooperative learning aims to create an environment where conflict resolution can still take place, with confrontations and arguments lead to a better understanding and integration of ideas, however, the implications have not been documented for learners under the age of 5, but still, I believe through the contribution of a teacher in group discussions will still be of importance to the lower grade learners.
Many researchers have stressed the benefits of cooperation in learning with a view of promoting meaningful interactions among learners. (Blatchford, Kutnick, Baines, & Galton, 2016) Cooperative has indeed been associated with quality interactive output however the results have not been investigated among the younger children concerning their sociological skill development and the cognitive developments. This is why I believe my project will act to solve the impasse and bring to light the distinct impacts on the learners in the lower grades.
My research project will seek to examine the following teaching strategies for kindergarten teachers and their subsequent outcome concerning their development.
Genrari et al, (2017) have proposed learning frameworks through which cooperative learning can be handled to produce better results. For the teachers, it is important to note that cooperative skills needed for cooperative learning should be explicitly taught in classrooms daily so that the learners can identify the importance of cooperative skills and secondly instructors also have to indicate to each group how the display of the cooperative skills among the learners would help in the psychological development of the learners.
This research paper is therefore primarily aimed at finding the connection between cooperative learning and the psychological development of social skills.
The study will involve learners within the age brackets of 4-5 years. The use of a classroom set up would provide a visible cooperative learning environment for the learners to conduct the study. The research project will involve a total of 32 learners (n). The teacher on the hand would be responsible for the whole operation by filling a pre-established grid to show the level of psychological development.
Some of the elements in the grid include; how many times a learner objected a decision by the other groups? How many times did a learner propose questions? The grid finally would be used as a reflection on the group’s abilities to further cast light on how skills expressed by the learners will be managed for better.
Instructors responsible for the study classrooms would, therefore, give constructive feedback to positively reinforce the learners. The last step would be to determine the level of cognitive skills gained through the process of cooperative learning which would be carried out for at least one learning term.
The learners will then at this point be allowed to put into practice in different contexts the skills they have gained over time and as indicated earlier, the teacher will then be aware by the subsequent realization of the areas that might require motivation and changes.
Finally, each of the cooperative skills that the learners might have gained would be addressed singularly during different class sessions and once fully integrated into the learner’s daily routine of studies then a new skill would be introduced.
This project will adopt a qualitative research design since it will more concerned with the level of significance of the cooperative learning strategy on the cognitive and social development of the learners in the lower grade.
An independent analysis of the filled-in grids would be done to determine whether the results would be statistically significant as compared to the already existing research works. Data obtained from each group will be computed to come up sum totals of the marks for each group.
In this study, the children would be divided into groups with the hope that they make progress during the study period. It is hypothesized that the experimental group would show more cooperative signs than they used to do before the onset of the experiments. Throughout the sessions, I believe there would be visible signs of social skill development such as the acts of sharing, the subsequent increase in cooperative behaviours.
However, just like any other research activity, some limitations may affect the research activity some of which include; in the experimental groups, some of the children may be absent from class for one reason or the other. This I believe would negatively affect the performance of the individual and that of the group as a whole. Baloche, (2017) states that in some circumstances, learners may fail to complete the tasks assigned to them since they may feel that was only an individual responsibility and not that of the others. In addition to this, learners who have been used to the traditional ways of learning may find it difficult to adapt to this new mode of study, this may limit its applicability and the subsequent overall results of the study.
However, I believe that in case of the occurrence of the above-mentioned issues, there are remedy actions that can be done to ensure the issues are properly fixed for example by selecting institutions that have at least incorporated the system of learning in their curriculum at one point. Secondly, I would use a more engaged approach by asking the teachers to prepare their learners for cooperation; this would at least prepare the children psychologically as opposed to introducing a completely new mode of study without letting them know what is about to happen.
In conclusion, I hope that these strategies would help to arrive at results concerning cooperative learning situations that would be subsequently used in promoting social and cognitive development and growth in the classroom and beyond.
Baines, E., Blatchford, P., & Kutnick, P. (2016). Promoting effective group work in the primary classroom: A handbook for teachers and practitioners. Routledge.
Baloche, L., & Brody, C. M. (2017). Cooperative learning: Exploring challenges, crafting innovations.
Gennari, R., Melonio, A., & Torello, S. (2017). Gamified probes for cooperative learning: a case study. Multimedia Tools and Applications, 76(4), 4925-4949.
Gillies, R. M. (2016). Cooperative learning: Review of research and practice. Australian Journal of teacher education, 41(3), 3.
Rahmat, N. H. (2018). EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY: A TOOL FOR LANGUAGE RESEARCH. PEOPLE: International Journal of Social Sciences, 4(2).
Santrock, J. W. (2009). Psikologi pendidikan (educational psychology). Jakarta: Salemba Humanika, 86.
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