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Learning by cooperation- an eTwinning characteristic

One of the most important and most generous features of the eTwinning concept is learning by means of cooperation.
Some time ago, I noticed that there was a widespread opinion among teachers that only competitive relationships generate a proper motivation for learning, but many experimental research and analysis have highlighted the differences between learning through cooperation, learning in an individualistic manner and the one done in a competition situation, emphasizing the high efficiency of groups of students facing a common task of learning.
A class is a specific social group that mediates, in time, fundamental changes at the cognitive level of each of its members. The climate in the class has a huge impact on the perceptions that the students and teachers have, reflect the reasons for which they work (or don’t work) together, the ability to talk together and to examine ideas critically and reflects the characteristics of that class as a learning community.
The collaborative learning climate, such as the one in the projects, brings:
• in terms of school performance: more effort to succeed, therefore, better results for all the pupils (labeled in the traditional manner as "very good", "mediocre", "weak"), inner motivation, involvement in solving tasks, a better dosage of the available time in order to achieve the task, critical thinking;
· in terms of interpersonal relationships: deeper and warmer pupils’ relationships by boosting team spirit, appreciation and valuing of multi-ethnical diversity through the development of empathy and cohesion at the national and international group level.
· in terms of personal identity: self-identity strengthening, development of social skills, self-image improvement, developing the capacity to handle stress and adversity.

Through such an management of the learning situations, students positively rely on each other, and this positive interdependence leads to loyalty towards the group. Other essential elements in learning through cooperation are :
· the responsibility of the individual
· stimulating interaction
· interpersonal skills and competencies
· awareness and assessment of the way the group works
When learning is achieved through cooperation on a regular basis, students can turn from “lonely learners” into “colleagues who learn together”, reaching levels of academic competence both in the group and as members of teams.
Groups that learn through cooperation focus on maximizing the academic success of all the group members.

Irina Vasilescu, School no.92, Bucharest, Romania