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ERIC Number: EJ1072449
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Competition and Cooperation: Evil Twins or Fated Lovers?
Fitch, Frank; Loving, Greg
Philosophical Studies in Education, v38 p83-93 2007
The competing global forces of homogenizing commercialism and absolutist sectarianism continue to engender a regime of fear and have all but eclipsed what John Dewey called the democratic "habit of amicable cooperation." The values of cooperation are increasingly seen as "unrealistic" and even taken as signs of weakness in the "real" world where only the "fittest" survive. Cooperative learning is one of the clearest contemporary examples of Dewey's "amicable cooperation" in the classroom. Widely recognized as indispensable for cultivating multicultural democratic citizenship, no other approach has proven as effective in promoting positive inter-group relations, increasing academic achievement, and building bridges across borders of difference. And yet, cooperative learning has largely failed to replace traditional individualistic pedagogy in the classroom. Cooperative learning at its best cultivates conditions for mutual critique, for an engaged dialogic response to pluralism. Balancing competition and cooperation, cooperative learning is integral to the effort to create communities of critical inquiry. The struggle over the values of cooperation and competition calls out for a clarification of both competition and cooperation, recognizing that they are not a dichotomy but mutually necessary both in society at large and in the practice of education. This essay examines the presumed antimony between cooperation and competition, beginning with a critical rejection of both anthropological and economic theories which claim competition to be the main driving force in human development. Instead, cooperation is acknowledged to be a basic human impulse that forms the background for healthy competition.
Descriptors: Cooperative Learning, Competition, Educational Theories, Philosophy, Cultural Pluralism, Educational Anthropology, Economics, Criticism, Social Theories, Individual Development, Conflict, Hermeneutics, Epistemology, Questioning Techniques, Inquiry, Role of Education
Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society. Web site: http://ovpes.org/?page_id=51
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative; Opinion Papers
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