03 SES 17, Uncertainty as a Constitutive Element of Pedagogical Interaction
Uncertainty is embraced as an instructional principle when utilizing Cooperative Learning as a pedagogical practice in the Physical Education. From a theoretical position we ground Cooperative Learning in social constructivism (Vygotsky, 1978). We adopt a social constructivist perspective and frame our arguments within the naturalistic setting of the school context, positioning our work with scholars such as Azzarito and Ennis (2003). We agree with Vygotsky (1978), who proposed that interpretation and interactions occurring through cooperative activities was a powerful way to develop knowledge and understanding. From social constructivist theory, the classroom is seen as a community of learners. According to social constructivists, “learning occurs through peer interactions, student ownership of the curriculum and educational experiences that are authentic for students” (Azzarito & Ennis, 2003, p. 179). Dewey (1966) argued that we develop through a teaching of beliefs, emotions, and knowledge, which occurs through experiential activities that relate to our social interactions in our schools, and the community. Therefore, we seek meaning from a frame of reference grounded in real-world school-based and community contexts. For Dewey (1966) experience is learning but Dewey wasn’t referring to any experience or activity but rather a purposeful and meaningful pedagogically sound and experiential activity that had specific learning intentions. Cohen (1994) proposed developing tasks for students as “group work” that were complex in nature. The task was problematized by the teacher to create uncertainty: There is not one solution to the problem and groups of students have to rely on each other in a positive interdependent manner to solve the problem. Based on Cohen (1994) work in physical education group work provides opportunities for complex and challenging pedagogical tasks that require higher order thinking and complex psycho-motor skills and tactics in order to deal with the uncertainty involved. Cooperative Learning in physical education requires sophisticated lesson planning and curriculum development. In addition, meta cognition strategies such as group processing allow the teacher to facilitate instruction. In this way Cooperative Learning can be seen as a transformative pedagogy. Cooperative Learning can allow for student-centered discovery in physical education and the development of social and emotional learning in uncertainty rich settings.
Azzarito, L. / Ennis, C.D. (2003) A sense of connection: Toward social constructivist physical education. Sport, Education, and Society, 8, 179-198. Cohen, E.G. (1994) Restructuring in the classroom: Conditions for productive small groups. Review of Educational Research, 64, 1–35. Dewey, J. (1966) Democracy and Education. New York: The Free Press. Vygotsky, L.S. (1978) Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge. MA: Harvard University Press.
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