"Cooperative learning" is a classroom-management technique that conceals,
accommodates, and institutionalizes academic underachievement. It extends both the self-protective interests of the education
establishment and the self-deceptive powers of individual teachers.
COOPERATIVE LEARNING PRETENDS TO PROMOTE …
higher achievement and retention
greater use of higher level reasoning strategies
greater ability to view situations from others' perspectives
more positive, accepting, and supporting relationships with peers
more positive attitudes toward teachers and learning, etc.
higher self-esteem based on self-acceptance
greater social support
more positive psychological adjustment and health
less disruptive and on task behavior
greater collaborative skills and attitudes necessary for working
— D.W. Johnson, Cooperation in the Classroom
... BUT IN FACT IT:
CONCEALS INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCE • It credits one student for
another student's work.
PROMOTES PEER-DEPENDENCE • It lets students parrot answers they
get from peers without thought or research.
BABIES STUDENTS • Workers in the real world are hired and fired
on their own merits, not on those of their peers.
HUMORS ILLITERACY • It lets poor readers succeed as functional
REWARDS ILLITERACY • It pairs good readers with poor readers,
grading poor readers on what good readers read.
IS NOT PEER-TUTORING • It gives tutor and tutee the same grade,
Cooperative learning is
a means of classroom control, not of education. It is the protective
reaction of a public education establishment caught between two
incompatible, irreconcilable demands — the
demand for greater teacher accountability (to justify more spending),
and the demand for equal education outcomes (to dodge charges of bias
or favoritism). In cooperative learning you give group grades, which
furnishes a pretense of accountability; and you pair lazy, ignorant,
illiterate students with diligent, knowledgeable, motivated students
long enough to mask individual failure and hustle them on to the next
grade before getting caught.