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Cooperative Learning in Scotland. Perspectives on the role of cooperative learning in supporting curricular policy and innovation

McAlister, Clare (2010) Cooperative Learning in Scotland. Perspectives on the role of cooperative learning in supporting curricular policy and innovation. In: The European Conference on Educational research 2010, 2010-08-23 - 2011-06-27. (Unpublished)

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The stated aim of the new Curriculum for Excellence is to deliver an education system in Scotland that meets the demands of the 21st Century. The new curriculum has been the subject of controversy relating to its capacity to support learning and the approaches to learning and teaching it advocates. The changes in curriculum require developments, for some practitioners, in how learning and teaching takes place with a focus on active learning. This paper explores whether one active learning strategy, cooperative learning, can assist teachers in delivering the new curriculum. Cooperative learning is a pedagogy that has been the focus of significant research in the United States and Canada with developing interest in a variety of countries (Gillies 2000; Gillies & Boyle 2005; Johnson 1993; Johnson 1985; Kagan & Kagan 2009; Slavin 1984; Weigmann 1992) but to date the research in the UK is limited. This paper explores findings on cooperative learning in a global context and through a case study in Scotland. The case study reported in this paper reflects on the responses of pupils to the introduction of cooperative learning in a secondary school in Scotland and the ways in which this approach appeared to support them in developing the four capacities of the new curriculum.