1.Synthesis about inclusion

2. Selection of commented references

1. Synthesis

Twenty-first century schools show a high degree of diversity, where multiple nationalities, different languages and varied cultural background and socio-economic diversity is the most common setting. Faced with this diversity, teachers often need to feel confident to provide an education that meets the needs of all students. Cooperative learning in general and Lesson Study in particular have proved to be two relevant instruments for tackling this important task. Taking inclusion and diversity into account for the teaching planning implies bringing knowledge regarding differences in order to develop understanding, mutual recognition and positive acceptance of others; equality refers to tolerance by stressing the negative consequences of discrimination (Verkuyten & Thijs, 2013). Cooperative learning supports democracy in the classroom (Ferguson-Patrick & Jolliffe, 2018) and contributes to create an environment where students are likely to value themselves as well as others, and argue for the integration of all students’ resources and to respect all contributions in order to achieve learning goals (Sharan, 2017).

2. Selection


  • Miller, N. C., McKissick, B. R., Ivy, J. T., & Moser, K. (2017). Supporting diverse young adolescents: Cooperative grouping in inclusive middle-level settings. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 90(3), 86-92.

p. 89. “Classroom set up must facilitate an effective learning environment including walking space between groups (Emmer and Evertson 2013). This ensures that groups have established “territories” and reasonable privacy for engaging in discussions, and accommodates the teacher’s need to move easily around the room. (…) Students who are not accustomed to working in groups should be informed that their group members should be their primary support, and the group must reach a significant obstacle or stalemate prior to asking the teacher for assistance. These strategies prevent students from disturbing other groups so that all learners are engaged in the assigned classroom task. (…) It is also important to set clear expectations for behavior prior to entering into group work. A succinct rubric for group work behavior is a valuable tool. Allow time for discussing the rubric and expectations prior to initiating group work.”

p. 89 “In order to provide the most effective and efficient support within the heterogeneous group, teachers must ensure the class material is equally accessible to each group member and that there are alternative ways for students to demonstrate understanding.”

p. 91 “…heterogeneous grouping is one method for providing high-quality inclusive education for all middle-level students, including those with exceptionalities. While teaching within this context may present challenges for the middle-level educator, this diversity provides for a greater opportunity to create a develop- mentally responsive classroom.”

p. 4 “Inclusion is also explained as a term that describes a commitment to educate every student in the general education classroom. It consists of bringing the services to the child and stipulates that the child benefits from being included in the class (Stout, 2001).”

pp. 22-23 “The results obtained from this study supported the initial hypothesis - cooperative learning groups can be a successful catalyst for positive social interactions among students with disabilities and their general education peers. These results are encouraging and are a step toward finding successful ways to include students with disabilities both socially and academically in the general education classroom. (…) This particular research supports a recent study by Kim, Koegel, & Koegel (2017) in that the use of cooperative learning groups does not just show positive results when students are working in the groups, but during other class time as well. The study by Kim, Koegel, & Koegel (2017) found that when cooperative learning groups are not used, the number of reciprocal social interactions are significantly lower. Their findings, as well as the findings of this paper, strengthen the idea that the use of cooperative learning groups in classrooms not only benefit students just while working in the groups, but in other social scenarios as well.”

p. 23 “This particular study, along with the research by Kim, Koegel, & Koegel, implies that cooperative learning groups are a successful way to help students with disabilities become more confident and involved with their general education peers. Cooperative learning groups help students develop collaboration and problem-solving skills as well as communication skills that can be used in more colloquial social situations.”


  • Völlinger, V. A., & Supanc, M. (2019). Student teachers’ attitudes towards cooperative learning in inclusive education. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 35, 727-749. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10212-019-00435-7.

p. 732: “The present research has a narrower focus: It concentrates on attitudes towards CL as potentially effective instructional methods for students in inclusive education.”

p. 742: ” CL has proven to be effective in fostering the academic and social development of students of differing ability levels and social backgrounds (Kyndt et al. 2013; Slavin 1995). Teaching methods that use heterogeneity as learning potential, such as cooperative learning methods, appear promising for use in inclusive education.”

p. 744: “Student teachers reported differences in attitudes towards the use of CL in inclusive education depending on the students’ type of impairment. Since research reviews on the effectiveness of CL for students with special educational needs (Ashman 2003) have been mixed, the varying suitability ratings of the participants regarding the use of CL for students with special educational needs seem realist”.


p. 2 “The limited number of studies that have evaluated the effect of the CL approach on social inclusion of children with SEN show that this approach leads to increases in social acceptance and prosocial group behaviors (Putnam et al., 1996; Gillies and Ashman, 1997, 2000; Jacques et al., 1998; André et al., 2011; Capodieci et al., 2019).”

p. 2 “While there is evidence on the effect of the CL approach on inclusion, less is known of the conditions under which this approach has the intended effect. The social interdependence theory, a premise of the CL approach, posits that structuring tasks for positive interdependence among group members gives rise to psychological processes of caring for one’s group members and readiness to invest energy into others than oneself (Johnson and Johnson, 2009). However, this assumption was challenged by Slavin (2014), who pointed out that it may be a necessary but not sufficient condition for cooperation. Slavin (2014) proposed that group members may need additional motivational incentives to cooperate effectively, and that change as a result of such an intervention may take time.”

p. 3 “The teacher’s role in the CL approach is central but intricate. Training in CL renders changes in the teacher’s role from modeling and providing direct instruction to one of monitoring and scaffolding group work (Blatchford et al., 2006; Gillies, 2016).”

p. 7 “The study results showed that the CL approach had a small but significant effect on children’s social acceptance, but not on children’s friendships and perceptions of classroom relationships. Thus, the results corroborate previous findings on the effect of CL on social acceptance (Putnam et al., 1996; Jacques et al., 1998; André et al., 2011; Capodieci et al., 2019).”

p. 8 “The CL approach assumes that children develop positive experiences of group work through a feeling of interdependence, created through the five principles of the approach, including positive interdependence, individual accountability, promotive interaction, explicit instruction in social skills, and group processing (Johnson and Johnson, 2009). Studies of CL, focusing on social inclusion of children with SEN, reported on the need for additional training in social skills (Gillies and Ashman, 1997, 2000; Baines et al., 2015; Capodieci et al., 2019). Moreover, specific procedures to ensure positive interdependence were used by aggregating team results on individual scores (André et al., 2011). In this study, the implementation of the five CL principles was assured through activities and materials. Based on the lack of a significant effect on social inclusion, future studies of the CL approach may be necessary to further accentuate training in social skills and to promote positive interdependence among group members.”

  • de la Barra, E., & Carbone, S. (2020). Bridging inequality: Cooperative learning through literature in two vulnerable schools in Santiago. Profile: Issues in Teachers’ Professional Development, 22(2), 49–63. https://doi.org/10.15446/profile. v22n2.81384

p. 49: “The study aimed at bridging EFL inequality by exposing students to a different methodology using cooperative learning, and content-based instruction through literature, which are inexistent methods in vulnerable schools. Improving students’ performance and increasing their personal growth were also pursued. Data were gathered through lesson observations, language tests, and surveys. Results evidenced that students improved their cooperative learning skills and personal growth, yet their linguistic proficiency was not significantly enhanced.”

p. 50: “The objective of this research is to examine the effects of both the cooperative learning and content-based approaches in two vulnerable schools in Santiago. These two approaches are widely employed in private schools because they are more effective and because students become the centre of the learning process allowing them to develop productive skills rather than just receptive ones. The research describes the effects of an intervention carried out in the selected schools and the impact it had on the children who had never worked with these methodologies.”

p. 51: “cooperation teaches the individual about the value of relationships, the value of helping, sharing, and reciprocity instead of just competing with other human beings to get an objective, that is, helping others and working together towards a common goal can be more effective and rewarding. Cooperation, in fact, seems to be a defining feature of human social life. In cooperative behaviour the individual humanizes; hence the individual becomes more humane and exhibits higher levels of sophistication and flexibility than when working alone.”

p. 52: “In a study carried out by André et al. (2013), cooperative learning proved to be incredibly successful with pupils in France who had learning disabilities related to risk taking. This study shows the benefits of cooperative learning in environ­ments that require a context of inclusion to enhance positive social relationships. This inclusion encourages acceptance by peers and the self-confidence of the dis­abled students whose learning disability was related to their poor writing and reading skills. The participants of this study were 168 pupils from middle school aged 11 and 12 years. The results showed an increase in the risk-taking attitude of children with learning disabilities.”

p. 53: “Sharan (2010) states that the main benefit of coop­erative learning is that both academic and social skills are developed through this method; furthermore, it also helps to promote better classroom management and better signs of inclusion in classes that are largely mul­ticultural.”

p. 53: “students perceived that the cooperative learning sessions were more interesting than the traditional methods. Students stated that the most positive ele­ments of this methodology were that studying at home was easier, that the contents of the lesson were fully grasped as sessions were more amusing, that difficult items were easier to learn, that their work was more valued by the teacher, and that there was a lot of help inside the group.”

p. 61: “Also, teachers must rely on their students and believe that they can build their own learning if well guided and finally, it is essential that students’ interests are taken into consideration when planning lessons.”

p. 61: “To sum up we would like to encourage EFL teachers to try different methods and approaches. Cooperative learning, for example, and CBI can provide not only meaningful learning experiences for students, but also become an agent of change to bridge the inequality gap that has affected our country for such a long time.”


  • Mamas, C., Bjorklund Jr., P., Daly, A. J., & Moukarzel, S. (2020). Friendship and support networks among students with disabilities in middle school. International Journal of Educational Research, 103, 101608.

p. 9: “Our findings, along with the body of research that came before, make the case that teachers should take steps to foster tie formation for all students, thereby facilitating tie formation for students with disabilities. As Small (2009) contended, “people are more likely to form ties when they have opportunities to interact, when they do so frequently, when they are focused on some activity, when they are not competitive, and when they have reason to cooperate” (p. 15).

p. 10: “The cited browser-based software allows teachers to conduct descriptive social network analysis within their classrooms, without having any knowledge on the technical aspects of such a methodology. Those with a better understanding of the social structure will make better judgments about seating arrangements and groups for cooperative learning experiences for all students. Moreover, they will be better equipped to address the needs of students with disabilities.”