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Cooperative Learning and its Affects on Students Although individual study is important cooperative learning should be an essential part of a students study There are many ways cooperative learning affects students in a classroom including creating better supportive relationships increased communication skills and the development of higher level thinking Hilke 1990 defines cooperative learning as the organizational structure where a group of students work together to pursue academic goals The goals this type of learning deals with are- to encourage healthy group interaction develop academic cooperation among students build student self-esteem and enhance academic achievement By having the students work together in small groups the first goal is gradually met because they are learning to cooperate with others When you have several students working together toward a common goal or project it forces them to be accountable not only for their personal work but also the groups This helps not only the students who struggle but also those who excel because it gives them the opportunity to mentor each other Self-esteem is built from group activities because the students are allowed to study areas that they are more interested in and share with other group members or the class thus building their sense of pride and accomplishment Furthermore researchers have found an increase in academic achievement when cooperative learning was used at both elementary and secondary levels p25 The reason for increased academic achievement is most notable due to the heightened increase created when students are allowed to study areas that they have chosen or are interested in What this means is that they are being intrinsically rewarded by the information they are finding and they are more excited to share In addition this excitement is rubbed off onto the other students who see the enthusiasm and are more eager to learn Another area in which cooperative learning acts as an important tool is in the culturally diverse classroom where a teacher may
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