Cooperative and collaborative learning are two methodological approaches that essentially promote the idea that young people’s learning is best served when they have opportunities to learn with and from each other, and are shown how to do so effectively. These approaches suggest that differences between learners should be a potential for learning, not an obstacle.
Cooperative work is helpful in classrooms to promote entrepreneurial education and skills development, since this methodology offers opportunities for real-life challenges to be addressed and developed utilising the range of abilities and interests present. Where collaboration was a feature of the projects this fostered motivation, dialogue, decision making and peer learning.
However, entrepreneurial education projects where students were grouped also included individual work and reflection. This is a basic and necessary tool to develop the initiative, of both student and project, and personal autonomy of all students.
These are some guidelines for cooperative working:
- know pupil’s abilities and interests
- make groups of 4-5 students with different skills, aptitudes and abilities
- develop open projects: the most important aim isn’t the result, the product, but the process and the diversity of tools that are used by different members of the group to take it forward.