Balance among Cooperative, Competitive and Individualistic Learning

In my previous article titled Measures to Improve Cooperative Learning Strategies in Teaching, we talked about the common teaching methods in China. Today, we are discussing on how to make a balance among cooperative, competitive, and individualistic learning.

Balance between Cooperative Learning and Competitive Learning

There are three types of goal structures available to teachers during China’s instruction: cooperative, competitive, and individualistic. The traditional competitive structure has dominated in Chinese education. The type of goal structure used affects interaction among students and teachers and ultimately affects learning.

“The expectation to be praised and be respected confirmedly exists in human being’s nature. If the expectation is lost, there is no possibility for human’s cooperation,” Einstein once said.

It is very important to learn the skills to praise and respect others. When a boss who is good at cooperation asks his/her people to come to his/her office, the boss never chooses these words, “come to my office,” but says, “I will wait for you in my office!”

Research is reviewed on the effects of various goal structures on a series of cognitive and affective educational outcomes.

You should make a balance among cooperative, competitive, and individualistic learning. Students should learn cooperatively, and engage cognitively, physically, emotionally and psychologically in constructing their own knowledge, which is important in changing the passive and impersonal character of our classrooms.

More importantly, when students, however diverse, work together on cooperative tasks in an atmosphere of cooperative civility where they contribute their fair share, they grow to like and respect one another. This is a vital ingredient of students’ success in their respective future careers in society. (Y.K. Ip 2003)

The most significant objective for students should be to learn how to construct and maintain positive social relationships in all types of situations. The conditions under which competitive and individualistic structures can be used productively are stated, with guidelines for the teacher’s role in cooperative instruction. (Johnson, e.t., 1998).

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