Enhancing social skills through cooperative learning
Booysen, M J
Grosser, Mary M
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The National Curriculum Statement of South Africa envisages qualified and competent teachers to deal with the diversity of learners and their needs in the classroom. One of the needs refers to all learners (Gr R-12) who need to acquire the necessary social skills to enable them to work effectively with others as members of a team, group, organization and community. These skills refer inter alia to: learning to work with others, listening to others, giving attention, asking clarifying questions, learning how to evaluate, and to praise others, handling conflict, reflecting on group work and allowing all group members to participate. The most obvious place to deal purposefully with the development of social skills is the classroom. This implies that alternative ways and methods of teaching must be introduced to develop the necessary social skills. This article reports on the findings obtained from a combined quantitative and qualitative study that set out to determine the levels of social competence achieved by a group of Grade 2 learners, and the possible association of a cooperative teaching and learning intervention programme for enhancing the social skills of these learners. The results revealed the latent potential of cooperative learning to enhance the social skills of Grade 2 learners. The significance of this research lies in the contribution it makes to establish the social competence of a group of Grade 2 learners and to determine the possibilities for enhancing their social skills through cooperative learning.