December S.E.L.F. Newsletter

Your Monthly Toolbox for Social & Emotional Learning

Cooperation & Collaboration

What were once called "soft" skills in the workplace are now essential, key to the success of the business enterprise and the individual worker: working on teams, taking responsibility for one's piece of a larger project, planning for the future, and completing the plan -- these are the gears that will drive their personal and professional lives. All involve cooperative learning.

In cooperative learning, students are organized into small groups and the teacher announces a common goal.

During the course of the assignment, the children work together for a shared benefit, realizing that all members share that goal and the rewards of achieving it. Cooperative learning goes hand in hand with social and emotional learning (SEL). Briefly, the two approaches help develop a number of skills, including

  • self-awareness: recognizing feelings and identifying interests, strengths, and weaknesses.
  • self-management: managing feelings and behavior to control impulses and persevere in achieving important personal and academic goals.
  • social awareness: understanding the needs and feelings of others, while appreciating similarities and differences among individuals and groups.
  • relationship skills: maintaining positive relationships with others.
  • responsible decision making: making good choices and contributing to one's school, one's community, and the world.

Studies of cooperative-learning strategies regularly report an increase in engagement and active participation in the learning process, which in turn increase student motivation, time on task, and retention times and improve cognitive reasoning and the ability to see from others' perspectives.

For more of this article, visit:

"Coming together is a beginning.

Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success."

Henry Ford

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School-Wide Cooperation & Collaboration Ideas

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What is Collaboration?
Cooperative Learning in the Elementary School
Secrets Of Successful Teamwork: Insights From Google
Encouraging Academic Conversations With Talk Moves

Parent Connection

Cooperation is a skill your child will use his or her entire life. Here's how to encourage your child to work together with others and play cooperatively:

You want your child to succeed at school, build relationships and lead an overall happy life -- and that means learning to work well with others. But children aren't born with this ability: It's something they learn as they grow. It's not something they learn from a book or through lectures -- they learn it through play! Cooperative play develops several important skills, such as sharing, taking turns and following instructions, all of which help them get along with others in social situations.

Here are some tips and tricks for encouraging your child to play cooperatively:

  1. Take Turns
  2. Do Chores Together
  3. Model Empathy and Cooperation
  4. Encourage Free Play
  5. Play Cooperative Activities
"Anything parents can do to facilitate play with other children is really useful," Dr. Loebenberg says. The more opportunities your child has to interact with others, the more she'll learn to cooperate.

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