ERIC Number: ED461894
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001-Dec
Cooperative Learning versus Competition: Which Is Better?
Most educators advocate cooperative learning in the curriculum. Heterogeneous grouping is also recommended so that students with mixed achievement levels work in a committee setting. Cooperative endeavors stress democracy as a way of life, according to many educators, as compared to competition in the classroom. This paper examines the philosophy of cooperative learning and heterogeneous grouping. The paper first gives an overview of cooperative learning and cites some of its good and bad points. Not all students are cooperative, and many times students need to work by themselves. The paper states that the teacher in cooperative learning becomes a guide, a simulator, and one who encourages, but not one who lectures nor dispenses information. It contends that there are selected questions which need to be raised regarding cooperative learning. The paper finds that there are a few educators who advocate a competitive curriculum and cites several reasons for the competitive philosophy, such as the United States is not keeping up with Japan and Germany in world trade, and United States students should be first in mathematics and science. It then considers, in depth, competition, based on the free enterprise system, in the classroom. The paper also addresses healthy competition in the classroom, and sets forth five guidelines for stressing competitive events. It raises several questions about competitive behavior in the classroom setting. The paper also outlines cooperative learning's advantages and disadvantages. It concludes that what truly matters is how each approach affects learners in the school and classroom setting. (NKA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A