Since the implementation of Curriculum 2005 and the Revised National Curriculum Statement (RNCS) in 2004, educators seem unsure of how to manage teaching and learning in the classroom. They find it difficult to develop their own teaching style, display leadership in class, plan and organize effectively to optimize teaching and learning experiences for their learners. The RNCS moved away from homogeneous ability grouping to heterogeneous grouping. Emphasis is placed on the acceptance of individual needs and differences, and equal learning opportunities. Large class groups and masses of administration have left educators with little time to spend with individuals. Group work seems to be the answer and a popular way to organize class work, especially if the educator controls the action well, but learners have minimal contact with the educator who mainly supervises and little cognitive development or interchange happens. Learners sit in groups, but mostly do not work collaboratively as groups. They talk to each other, but work as individuals. The aim of this qualitative study at a parallel medium primary school was to determine the utilization of co-operative learning in the management of a productive Grade 3 class. The results of the study were compared with findings of a similar Dutch study conducted by Veenman, Kenter&Post in 2000. Data was collected through observation, a semi-structured educator interview, and semi-structured group interviews with Grade 3 learners, randomly selected from a class list, the educator’s reflection on group formation, official documents like lesson plans and written assignments of learners based on two open questions put to them. From the study it is clear that the aim of co-operative learning is to empower learners to gain confidence, develop to their full potential to become responsible and disciplined citizens of our democratic society. To reach these goals, educators should fully understand co-operative learning implement it in a structured and well-planned manner. As educational leader in a productive classroom the educator needs to be well organized, creating a culture of teaching and learning in class. Learners, exposed to harmonious classroom relationships in a well-managed productive classroom where participation of all members are encouraged and valued and open communication is part of daily processes in class, will participate freely, be resourceful, happy, helpful and co-operative and be able to make the most of co-operative learning approaches in class through responsible, enthusiastic and confident participation.
Dissertation (MEd (Education Management Law and Policy))--University of Pretoria, 2007.