1703 North Beauregard St.
Alexandria, VA 22311-1714
Tel: 1-800-933-ASCD (2723)
8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. eastern time, Monday through Friday
Local to the D.C. area: 1-703-578-9600, press 2
Toll-free from U.S. and Canada: 1-800-933-ASCD (2723), press 2
All other countries: (International Access Code) + 1-703-578-9600, press 2
by David W. Johnson, Roger T. Johnson and Edythe Johnson Holubec
Table of Contents
Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.
Structuring cooperative learning involves more than seating a number of students close together and telling them to help each other. Many actions can hurt group efforts. Less able members sometimes “leave it to George” to complete the group's tasks, thus creating a free rider effect (Kerr and Bruun 1981) whereby group members expend decreasing amounts of effort and just go through the motions of teamwork. At the same time, “George” may expend less effort to avoid the sucker effect of doing all the work (Kerr 1983). While working in a group, students might also defer to high-ability group members, who may take over the important leadership roles in ways that benefit them at the expense of the rest of the group (the rich-get-richer effect). For example, a high-ability group member may give all the explanations of what is being learned. Because the amount of time spent explaining correlates highly with the amount learned, the more able member learns a great deal while less able members flounder as a captive audience. Group efforts can also be characterized by self-induced helplessness (Langer and Benevento 1978), diffusion of responsibility and social loafing (Latane, Williams, and Harkin 1979), reactance (Salomon 1981), dysfunctional divisions of labor (“I'm the thinkist and you're the typist”) (Sheingold, Hawkins, and Char 1984), inappropriate dependence on authority (Webb, Ender, and Lewis 1986), destructive conflict (Collins 1970, Johnson and Johnson 1979), ganging up against a task, and other patterns of behavior that debilitate group performance.
This book is not a member benefit, but sample chapters have been selected for your perusal.
To read further, purchase this book in the ASCD Online Store.
Copyright © 1994 by Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. All rights reserved.
No part of this publication—including the drawings, graphs, illustrations, or chapters, except for brief quotations in
critical reviews or articles—may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission from ASCD.
Subscribe to ASCD Express, our twice-monthly e-mail newsletter, to have practical, actionable strategies and information delivered to your e-mail inbox twice a month.
ASCD respects intellectual property rights and adheres to the laws governing them. Learn more about our permissions policy and submit your request online.