Group Work vs. Teamwork: There’s A Big Difference

It is common knowledge that group work is encouraged in high school classrooms. More group work means better connections and more engagement, right? Well, what if I told you that group work doesn’t make much of a difference. Cooperative learning, on the other hand, really does.

So what is the difference, then?

Image result for cooperative learning

Cooperative learning is defined by NSTA as an, “instructional method where students work in small groups to accomplish learning goals under guidance of a teacher.” The three main reasons for utilizing these methods are to develop students’ social skills and communication, increase diversity, and improve academics.

Here is a helpful video that gives a good description on what cooperative learning really does.

There are several things you can do to implement cooperative learning in your classroom. These include:

  • assigning homebase teams to your class
  • make it fun! use friendly competitions
  • assign roles to students in each team, such as time keeper, communicator, scribe, etc.
  • utilize peer evaluations and goal sheets

This video provides an example of cooperative learning in the classroom.


  1. Hey Emma, I liked your tips to incorporate cooperative learning in the classroom. I was wondering if you had any tips for having friendly competition in the classroom? Great post!

  2. Hi Emma!
    I really enjoyed your posts! Your videos are fascinating and very informative about the first types and uses for cooperative learning! What is your favorite type of cooperative learning and can you give an example of how you hope to use it in your science classroom?

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