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Literature Review: Cooperative Grouping

Kelli Murphy
National University
TED 690
Professor Clifton Johnson
June 25, 2016



This literature review discusses the five essential elements that make up cooperative learning.
These elements are directly related to the candidate needs of Domain E of the California
Teaching Performance Expectations. In TPE 11, the focus is on the social environment of the
classroom and part of that social environment is the need for candidates to be able to help
students to learn to work responsibly with others as well as independently. Since cooperative
learning has been proven to be a successful technique it has now been implemented into the
common core standards.

Cooperative Grouping


Common core standards were implemented to help students prepare for their future
careers or higher education. One of the parts of the new common core includes cooperative
grouping. According to Kimberly Lightle, research suggests that cooperative learning brings
positive results, such as a deeper understanding of content, increased overall achievement in
grades, improved self-esteem, and higher motivation to remain on task. For those reasons,
cooperative learning is incredibly valuable in the classroom. There are so many benefits for the
students which is why cooperative grouping is now included in the new standards. When
students work together in this teaching style they are accountable for both their individual work
and their groups work. As a result, this teaching style creates an atmosphere of achievement
since students share strengths and develop their weaknesses by working together as a team. They
learn to work as a team and this may even involve dealing with conflict. These are great skills for
students to take with them into the business world.
Lightle discusses five essential elements that make up cooperative learning: Positive
interdependence, face-to-face interaction, individual and group accountability, interpersonal and
small group skills, and group processing. Her idea is that positive interdependence means that
each group member efforts are required for the success of the group as each member has unique
contributions. Face-to-face interactions promote each others successes because students discuss
the concepts being learned together, and through this are able to connect the past with the
present. When students work together they often reiterate the ideas back to each other in their
own words with gives them another way to learn and show understanding. Individual and group
accountability means that everybody needs to do their part. For this reason, educators should
keep group sizes smaller so that each persons accountability is greater. Even though students are
working in groups, it is still important that as educators we look at their individual learning as


well. Interpersonal skills are the skills that students develop in their groups. This includes social
skills, leadership skills, decision making skills, trust building, communication skills, and
conflict-resolution skills. Lastly, group processing is the reflection aspect of cooperative
learning. Group members need to reflect on their experiences together and describe the
contributions of all the members of the team, and they should decide how well they are achieving
their goals and maintaining effective relationships.
English language learners can really benefit from cooperative grouping because these
activities foster peer interaction, which helps them to develop language and the learning concepts
and content. According to an article in Colorin Colorado, ELLs learn to express themselves
with greater confidence when working in small teams. In addition to picking up vocabulary,
ELLs benefit from observing how their peers learn and solve problems. This is why it is
important to rotate roles and groups so that students get interaction with different students so the
diversity will help them grow.
Cooperative learning must be incorporated in all grade levels as there are clearly so many
benefits for students. Teachers must not forget though that it is equally important for students to
be evaluated individually as well as in a group because the group structure is in place to help
support the growth of each individual, but not to make individual learning disappear.



Cooperative Learning Strategies. (2007). Retrieved June 20, 2016, from

Lightle, K. (2008). Cooperative Learning: An Oldie but a Goodie. Retrieved June 20, 2016, from