joi, 13 februarie 2014

Întâlnire APCE - 14 martie 2014

Dragi membri APCE,

Cu bucurie va invitam la o prima intalnire APCE din anul acesta in data de 14 martie 2014 (vineri), de la ora 16.00. Speram ca aceasta revedere sa fie una placuta si reconfortanta, sa ne bucuram de primavara si de celebrarea prelungita a zilei tuturor femeilor.

Pe ordinea de zi vom avea in vedere urmatoarele:

1) Programele/ proiectele/ cursurile derulate de APCE in anul 2013
2) Propuneri pentru tema urmatoarei editii a Scolii de Vara - cursul de avansati. Fiind o editie aniversara, se implinesc 10 ani de cand derulam aceste cursuri, poate ne gandim impreuna la organizarea unui eveniment deosebit pentru toti.
3) Administrative
4) Diverse

Pentru cei care doresc sa doneze cei 2% din impozitul anual si deducerea cheltuielilor va vor fi puse la dispozitie cererile respective. Completarea acestora va poate aduce scutirea taxei anuale APCE si o reducere substantiala la urmatoarea editie a Scolii de Vara.

In documentul atasat veti gasi un NEWSLETTER publicat de Johnson&Johnson legat de Invatarea prin Cooperare.

Va asteptam cu drag!

lector univ. dr. Simona Laurian

·         Greetings from Roger and David
·         Social Skills
·         Web Site:

1         Summer Schedule For Training Session
2         Cooperative Learning And Conflict Resolution SIGs
3         Address For IBC

The Newsletter of
The Cooperative Learning Institute
Volume 28 • Issue 1
February, 2014
The Cooperative Link

Cooperative Learning
                       Editors:  David W. Johnson, Roger T. Johnson, Edythe Holubec

Greetings From The Johnsons

Greetings!  Here we are again!  We have had a busy year, both nationally and internationally.

David and I are officially retired from the University of Minnesota.  In other words, we are both Emeritus Professors, still teaching classes, and still doing our research. 

The Minneapolis Training will take place from July 14-17.  It will include Foundations of Cooperative Learning, Foundations Leadership Training, Conflict Resolution, and Conflict Leadership Training. 

High school teachers in Maine Township Schools (Chicago Area) are implementing their third series of action research studies.  The studies are aimed at answering questions about cooperative learning and gathering data from their own classrooms as to its effectiveness.  You can find out more about what they are finding by emailing Barbara Dill-Varga at 

We hope your efforts to make your classrooms, schools, and districts more cooperative are going well.  We hope your efforts to train students and your colleagues in how to manage conflicts constructively are progressing.  We hope your efforts to make your schools more cooperative are fruitful.  Keep up your good work.  

Roger and David  

Social Skills

Groups cannot function effectively if members do not have and use interpersonal and small group skills (Johnson & F. Johnson, 2013).  The results of hundreds of studies on group dynamics indicate that leadership, trust, communication, decision-making, and conflict-management skills are required for effective group action.  The more social skills are used, the more productive the group will be and the more positive the relationships among group members will be.  Given below are brief descriptions of leadership, trust, and communication skills. 


Leadership matters if a group is going to be effective and productive.  The English word “lead” is more than a thousand years old, and its meaning has changed little from its Anglo-Saxon root “laedare,” meaning “to lead people on a journey.”  To lead is to guide by influencing the destination and the direction for the group.  The Oxford English Dictionary notes the appearance of the word “leader” in the English language as early as 1300, but the word “leadership” did not appear until about 1800.  Leadership is the process through which group members influence each other to be effective in (a) achieving their mutual goals and (b) maintaining effective working relationships among members. 

Myth of the Individual Leader

The myth of the individual leader is deeply embedded in Western Society.  Our leader heroes, George Washington, Nelson Mandela, Teddy Roosevelt, and countless others are seen as extraordinary individuals who engaged in great works of leadership.  Actually, they usually were part of teams that accomplished wonderful things. 

Leadership tends to be social and interpersonal, not individual.  The accomplishment of important goals requires the coordinated contributions of many people.  One person cannot create a global business or orchestrate the discovery of a cure for cancer.  Most problems facing individuals, groups, and societies are just too large for any individual to solve.  Yet many social scientists have searched for traits rather than examine the actual process and situational conditions that result in effective leadership.  Our mythology and our reality are out of step.  It is time to give up “The Great Man or Women” theory of leadership and adopt the shared responsibility theory of leadership. 

Shared Leadership

While there are many theories of leadership, the one most applicable to cooperative learning is the distributed functions theory.  It states that leadership is provided by group members when they vary their behavior to provide the actions a group needs at that specific time to achieve its goals and maintain effective working relationships among members (Johnson & F. Johnson, 2013). 

Thus, all members of a group are responsible for providing leadership.  In order to do so, group members must: 

1.  Have the diagnostic skills to be aware that a given action (such as summarizing the major ideas being proposed) is needed. 

2.  Have the flexibility and skills to engage in the diverse types of actions needed for different situations. 

3.  Arrange for another member to engage in the needed actions. 

Responsibility for providing leadership needs to be distributed among all group members for at least three reasons: 

1.  It ensures that the resources of all group members are utilized. 

2.  It increases members’ commitment to the group and its goals. 

3.  Unequal patterns of participation can create relationship problems in the group (i.e., active members can doubt the commitment of silent members). 

Examples of actions that contribute to achieving the group’s goal are: 

1.  Contributing information and ideas. 

2.  Asking others to contribute information and ideas. 

3.  Giving direction to and organizing the group’s work, including assigning specific responsibilities to group members. 

4.  Summarizing the major contributions and trying to synthesize or combine similar ideas. 

5.  Energizes group members to work harder to achieve the group’s goals by such actions as cheer leading.  

6.  Checks for members understanding of conclusions or vital information by asking them to explain out loud their understanding. 

Examples of actions that contribute to maintain good working relationships among group members are: 

1.  Encouraging the participation of other group members to achieve the group’s goals. 

2.  Facilitating the communication among group members to ensure that they accurately  understand each other. 

3.  Relieving tension, usually by telling jokes and increasing group fun. 

4.  Using observations of the group to help discuss how the group can improve. 

5.  Helping resolve and mediate conflicts among group members. 

6.  Supporting and praising the contributions of other members to let them know their efforts are valued. 

At any time, every group member is responsible for ensuring the actions needed to achieve the group’s goals and maintain effective working relationships among members are engaged in. 

The distributed functions approach to leadership is the most concrete and direct approach available for improving the leadership skills of students and thereby improving the functioning of cooperative learning groups.  Any students can be taught this process of leadership.  Organizational leadership, however, may require a different approach to leadership (see Leading the Cooperative School). 

For a more extensive view of this approach to leadership see:

Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, F. P.  (2013).  Joining together:  Group theory and group skills (11th ed.).  Boston:  Allyn & Bacon. 

Developing and Maintaining Trust

An essential aspect of group effectiveness is developing and maintaining a high level of trust among group members (Johnson, 2014).  The more members trust one another, the more effectively they can work together.  Group members will openly express thoughts, feelings, reactions, opinions, information, and ideas when trust is high.  When the trust level is low, group members will be evasive, dishonest, and inconsiderate in their communications. 

Trust is not a stable personality trait.  Trust exists among individuals and is dynamic, increasing or decreasing with every action a group member makes. 

Trust includes the following elements (Deutsch, 1962). 

1.  You are in a situation where a choice to trust another person can lead to either beneficial or harmful consequences.  Thus, you realize there is a risk involved in trusting. 

2.  You realize that whether beneficial or harmful consequences result depends on the actions of another person. 

3.  You expect to suffer more if the harmful consequences result than you will gain if the beneficial consequences result.  The loss will be greater than the gain. 

4.  You are relatively confident that the other person will behave in such a way that the beneficial consequences will result. 

An example is as follows.  Imagine you are a part of a cooperative group attempting to solve a problem.  You begin to contribute to the discussion, knowing you will gain if you contribute good ideas that other members accept but lose if your ideas are laughed at and belittled.  Whether you gain or lose depends on the behavior of other group members.  You will feel more hurt if you are laughed at than you will feel satisfaction if your ideas are appreciated.  Yet you expect the other group members to consider your ideas and accept them. 

The crucial elements of trust are openness and sharing on the one hand and acceptance, support, and cooperative intentions on the other.  Working cooperatively with others requires openness and sharing which in turn are determined by the expression of acceptance, support, and cooperative intentions in the group.  Openness is the sharing of information, ideas, thoughts, feelings, and reactions to the issue the group is pursuing.  Sharing is the offering of your materials and resources to others in order to help them move the group toward goal accomplishment.  Acceptance is the communication of high regard for another person and his contributions to the group's work.  Support is the communication to another person that you recognize his or her strengths and believe he or she has the capabilities needed to manage the situation productively.  Cooperative intentions are the expectations that you are going to behave cooperatively and that every group member will also cooperate in achieving the group's goals. 

Interpersonal trust is built through risk and confirmation and is destroyed through risk and disconfirmation.  Without risk there is no trust, and the relationships among group members cannot move forward. 

The steps in building trust are: 

1.  Person A takes a risk by disclosing his thoughts, information, conclusions, feelings, and reactions to the immediate situation and to Person B. 

2.  Person B responds with acceptance, support, and cooperativeness and reciprocates Person A's openness by disclosing her own thoughts, information, conclusions, feelings, and reactions to the immediate situation and to Person A. 

An alternative way in which trust is built is: 

1.  Person B communicates acceptance, support, cooperativeness toward Person A. 

2.  Person A responds by disclosing his thoughts, information, conclusions, feelings, and reactions to the immediate situation and to Person B. 

Trusting behavior may be defined as the willingness to risk beneficial or harmful consequences by making oneself vulnerable to other group members.  More specifically, trusting behavior involves your being self-disclosing and willing to be openly accepting and supportive of others. 

Trustworthy behavior is the willingness to respond to another person's risk taking in a way that ensures that the other person will experience beneficial consequences.  This involves your acceptance of another person's trust in you.  Expressing acceptance, support, and cooperativeness as well as reciprocating disclosures appropriately are key aspects of being trustworthy in relationships with other group members. 

Accepting and supporting the contributions of other group members does not mean that you agree with everything they say.  You can express acceptance and support for the openness and sharing of other members and at the same time express different ideas and opposing points of view. 

The key to trust is being trustworthy. 

Communication Skills

Group communication typically involves a multi-person exchange that is effective when the receivers interpret the sender's message in the same way the sender intended it.  There are basic sending and receiving skills that all group members need to master. 

Sending skills include taking clear ownership for your messages, making your messages complete and specific, ensuring your verbal and nonverbal messages are congruent, building in redundancy, obtaining feedback as to how the message is received, adapting the message to the receiver’s frame of reference, describing your feelings, and describing others’ behavior with evaluation. 

Receiving skills include paraphrasing accurately and nonevaluatively the content of the message and the sender’s feelings, describing your perception of the sender’s feelings, and negotiating the meaning of the message until you and the sender agree. 

Whether the communication takes place in a cooperative or a competitive context determines how effective and how defensive the patterns of communication are.  The more cooperative the climate, the more effective communication tends to be.  Within cooperative situations communication is more open, effective, and accurate, whereas in competitive situations communication will be closed, ineffective, and inaccurate. 

Group communication is primarily analyzed according to the patterns of communication among group members and the factors that facilitate its effectiveness.  There are three ways that communication patterns may be analyzed: 

1.  The interaction among members:  The patterns of communication in groups are revealed by documenting (a) the length and frequency of each person’s communication acts, (b) who speaks to whom, and (c) who triggers communication acts by whom in what ways. 

2.  The communication network in the group:  Communication networks studied include circle, chain, “y,” wheel, and open patterns.  These patterns influence not only the flow of information, but also who is perceived to be the leader, the way in which tasks are completed, the satisfaction and morale of group members, and the ease with which tasks are completed.  The more complex the task, the more open communication patterns are needed. 

3.  The nature of one-way and two-way communication within authority hierarchies:  Many groups have authority hierarchies.  In an authority hierarchy the pattern of communication may be one-way, one-way with feedback, and two-way.  Two-way communication is the most desirable in terms of group effectiveness.  One-way communication often results in the creation of informal communication networks characterized by gate keepers or opinion leaders. 

Group Decision-Making Skills

The purpose of group decision making is to decide upon well-considered, well-understood, realistic action toward goals every member wishes to achieve.  A group decision implies that some agreement prevails among group members as to which of several courses of action is most desirable for achieving the group's goals.  Making a decision is just one step in the more general problem-solving process of goal-directed groups.  After defining a problem or issue, thinking over alternative courses of action, and weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each, a group will decide which course is the most desirable for them to implement.  

There are five major characteristics of an effective group decision:

1.  The resources of group members are fully utilized,

2.  Time is well used,

3.  The decision is correct, or of high quality,

4.  The decision is implemented fully by all the required group members,

5.  The problem-solving ability of the group is improved, or at least not lessened. 

A decision is effective to the extent that these five criteria are met; if all five are not met, the decision has not been made effectively.

Summer Workshops

Location:  Minneapolis, Minnesota
Dates:  July 14 to July 17
-Foundations of Cooperative Learning
-Foundations Leadership Training
-Creative Conflict (Teaching Students To Be Peacemakers, Constructive Controversy)
Conflict Leadership Training
Contact:  Linda Johnson,
Interaction Book Company

The workshops will take place at the Commons Hotel (formerly the Radisson University Hotel), 615 Washington Ave., S.E., 1-800-822-6757, (612) 379-8888.  

Join The AERA SIGs

Members of the American Educational Research Association should make sure they are members of the Cooperative Learning and the Conflict Resolution Special Interest Groups. 

Interaction Book Company

Interaction Book Company
5028 Halifax Ave. S.
Edina, MN 55424
(952) 831-9500
FAX:  (952) 831-9332

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