Teacher Competences and Teacher Beliefs in relation with Cooperative Learning in Primary Education
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Cooperative learning is a widespread and promising teaching procedure. In practice, however, its success is not guaranteed. Many researchers list factors for success with cooperative learning, which are foremost about the design of the cooperative task. The problem may lie with the skills and attitudes of the teachers. This case study is designed to compare teacher competences and beliefs to their work with cooperative learning. Teachers from two primary schools in The Netherlands have completed a questionnaire regarding their competences, teacher beliefs and their efforts regarding cooperative learning. Teachers with different, contrasting competences and teachers with different beliefs were interviewed and observed. After the analysis of the data, a comparison was made between competences, beliefs and cooperative learning. The quantitative data showed competence for reflection and development as a significant, positive predictor for the use of cooperative learning. Competence for collaboration with the working environment was a significant, negative predictor for cooperative learning. The quantitative data regarding teacher beliefs showed no significant prediction for cooperative learning. The qualitative data revealed some patterns in the relationship between competences and cooperative learning. The interpersonal competence, the social and emotional competence, and the organizational competence all seem to have a positive relationship with cooperative learning. The patterns found in the relationship between teacher beliefs and cooperative learning, all showed a probable, negative relationship between the transmission approach and cooperative learning.