ABSTRACT

A community is a limited number of people who share common goals and a common culture. The smaller the size of the community, the more personal the relationships, and the greater the personal accountability. Everyone knows everyone else. Relationships are long-term and have a future rather than being temporary brief encounters. Instruction becomes personalized. The students are thought of as citizens, while the teachers are thought of as the community leaders. A sense of belonging tends to boost the desire to learn. The learning community becomes an extended family where mutual achievement and caring for one another are important. With citizenship in the community comes an ethical code that includes such rules as (a) be prepared for classes each day, (b) pay attention in class, (c) be your personal best, and (d) respect other people and their property. In order to create a learning community, students (and teachers) need to be organized into cooperative teams. In understanding what cooperative is, it is necessary to define social interdependence, review the history of cooperative learning, define the basic theory of social interdependence on which cooperative learning is based, and discuss the variables that mediate the effectiveness of cooperation.