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INTRODUCTION

The Article I choose entitled “Cooperative Learning Structures Can Increase Student
Achievement” by Jeanie M. Dotson (2001). The focus of this article are comparing between
achievement of students from Sixth Grade Social studies students at Dunbar Middle school
who were introduced into Kagan’s cooperative learning and another group with traditional
learning.
According to the Anthony(2005) article, Cooperative Learning is defined as teaching
strategy consist of small teams which choose by different capability, potential, culture, and
socioeconomics to improve better understanding of the subject. This subject is important
because it promotes positive interdependence, individual accountability, ‘fair and square’
participation, social interaction, soft skills, and racial integration. The reason I Choose this
article because I think a group learning process is more effective than traditional lectures,
Through this it can promote a dual communication way where the students can actively
participate. Furthermore, a tutor of a same age can explain better in ease and understandable
ways to same age person compared to teacher who still use old way teaching method which
applicable for 20 years back.
Furthermore, according to Effendi (2006) he said the teacher should have prior knowledge
on how to teach the best way for Science and Mathematics subjects. Altering the way and
what to teach is ongoing profession concern thus it is teacher’s concern to direct learning
process from classical methods to student centered approach. Moreover the students learn
effectively when involved in distributing ideas and working as one group to complete entire
task. (Effendi, 2006)
SUMMARY
The author used a historic overview where people used the usage of cooperative learning
from 1960 and advantages of it. According to Jeanie (2001) they have started cooperative
learning as an access to racial unification. Then, cooperative learning started to developed
into few methods which is Learning Together And Alone, Group Investigation, Jigsaw
Procedure and Student Team Achievement Development (STAD)(Johnson& Johnson, 1999).
In this article, the author started to introduce Kagan’s Cooperative Learning Structure where
will be elaborated further in methodology. The methodology of this experiment was quasi
experimental design style of study with one group receiving cooperative learning

instructional method and the other group receiving traditional teaching method. The
participant are from Dunbar Middle School which located West Virginia, studying 6 th Graders
aged eleven to twelve. The children are randomly chosen with heterogeneous group with
different abilities. The student was given instruction and practice before study began. During
the study, step by step procedures were used to present, apply and analysis material. The
procedures starts from Think-Pair-Share until 4S Brainstorming .The finding of the study are
the student who received Cooperative Learning Methods perform better than traditional
method. The result was taken from class mean of 10 different assignments which given
exactly same to both groups.
The key terms that the author used are curriculum based assessment, mean score evaluated,
positive student outcomes, increase student achievement, heterogeneous group, support each
other assume responsibility to each other and improve social skills.
Article Review:
From the article I choose, the main points that have been emphasized are the usage of
cooperative learning as instructional method and the achievement from it in nowadays
teaching process. These have been supported by Clyde (n.d) article which said that different
people have used cooperative learning with a huge success. I agree with the statement
because cooperative learning is not only instructional method learning but also problem based
learning which can enhance student thinking skill with different angle. For example, the
cooperative learning mostly used in kindergarten thus results in students who are more active
and fast learner in school compared to those who do not enter kindergarten. Unfortunately,
when the students from kindergarten enter the school medium, the teaching and learning
process differs which turns them into passive learner from time to time. This is because the
scaffolding process decreases as the student age increases.
Author also elaborates from a study that teacher who use cooperative learning have been
self taught and teacher get used with variety of methods. These results in activities of higher
order thinking skills and others are Drill and Practice activities. According to Dr.Panitz (n.d),
he also supported this point by briefly saying the teacher learns to understand student
behavior and attitude through cooperative learning. This is because the student will elaborates
and explain the concept and the teacher would respond to it. There would be a dual
communication between them that makes the teacher to self taught about their students. In
addition I also support the above points because the teacher knows how to tackle whole

classroom using cooperative learning. The teacher also can develop a good relationship with
the student that can lead to a good social support system.
But then the author starts questioning why the cooperative learning was not widely used.
The main reason he identified is lacking of teacher who actively participate in this method.
This is due to lack of experience, funding and administrative methods. Shindler( 2009) also
verified that teacher are not using cooperative learning due to some reason for example
teacher have too many syllabus to teach and the discussion period sometimes turns into
unlimited social time. Yes I do agree with all the problems that occur but here is where the
teacher should play the role. They have to be timid observant during the learning process.
Even this part was supported from a study of Nath &Ross in 1996, which said that teacher
who used STAD (Student Team Achievement Development) methods need to closely
examine scheme of cooperative learning in order to make the method successful. Sapon
Shevin (1989/1990) also added that the teacher should use this method as teaching routine in
daily classroom not just as teaching gimmick. Basically teacher’s job is about teaching and
gives attention on students who have problems in studying to make their student’s future
guaranteed. Thus, it is their job to fulfill the entire requirement during teaching and learning
process.
Cooperative learning has been found to be successful method among all levels especially
secondary level, where the student at this age are more attached to friends than family which
fits the cooperative learning as a good teaching strategy which fulfill the needs of students.
CRITIQUE
This article had discussed thoroughly about cooperative learning but does not emphasize
how to apply in Science classroom. From additional article by Clyde (n.d), he had listed
several elements in order to apply cooperative learning into teaching science subject. Firstly
he explain the logical method which means give briefing how they are going to learn and
what they will get from it. Secondly is to establish various groups where the students
arranged in heterogeneous group consist to 4-5 in group for smooth flow discussion. Third
peer evaluation where the students will give marks for their teammates for morality and
cooperation for 10% out of 100%, fourthly is use classroom which is flexible to change
seating position. Fifth is individual quiz before group quiz to know how much they
understand before and after the lesson. Finally active learning is a must where they discuss
between the members why they have done mistakes. If possible, the teacher should observe

the discussion for the students to teach the correct concept and within syllabus in curriculum.
And if the students have discussed and said the answer given are wrong the teacher should be
able to evaluate again the answer and if necessary the teacher should teach correct concept.
From the article by Jeanie (2011) that I had read, a lot of factors have attracted my
attention such as the article never biased on special disabilities people and they still are
included in the study. Secondly, there is no any gender biased in this study because both
gender are equally treated. Furthermore the study measures are curriculum based assessment
where can identify student progress from basic to high level academic and not accessed via
grade assessment only.
But there are some things need to be improved in this article such telling how the first class
conducted and what are the student’s first impression on cooperative learning. Furthermore,
this study does not show each student achievements for me to investigate the lesson
conducted is successful or not. This is because the most important issue in this study was the
intelligent student were beholden by weak students which means they cannot proceed to next
chapter without their weak member. This might weaken the intelligent students. Moreover the
study can be continued with the group who studied traditionally learning which get lower
mean marks in this study to be introduced with cooperative learning. From there we can see
the differences clearly.
CONCLUSION
In conclusion, although there is few weakness in this research but the author had done good
job to analyze this type of learning method where nowadays most teacher unaware of it.
Moreover, the cooperative learning method need to be more diversified into teacher’s
syllabus where later on they know how to apply it during the class. Actually it is not only
student perception needs to be taken care but teacher’s opinion also plays an important role.
Thus more research needs to be done on what teacher feels and how they should start to teach
in this method. The Ministry of Education should also take their part in to discuss further
about the application of cooperative learning in education system. This is because when the
methods are not verified in education system the teachers prefer to teach in traditional ways
as provided in curriculum. Other than that, the pre-serviced teacher should also be introduced
with a newly formed subject that focuses on cooperative learning only. These teachers could
experience and apply their knowledge through this course and finally they can teach with
grounded confident to the students. By these, a new education system can be formed. If

Malaysia governments have tried various steps to improve our education system, why don’t
give a try to cooperative learning. Although there is some disadvantages on these course but
from time to time we can fix. Thus I hope this type of learning could be implemented soon
into our Malaysian Education System.