Essay Help on Impact of Social Theories on Learning Behavior
Human beings are vulnerable to affliction and require emotional relationships with each other. Cooperative relationships add value to individual’s life by providing support in both physical and emotional ways. In this regard, social interdependence, social dependence and social isolation theories have been well researched by many psychologists and other researchers. This essay will provide a critical snapshot of three social concepts and discuss the impact of these social concepts on traditional and cooperative learning environment of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning and Intersex students.
Mclnnerney (2010) has defined social isolation as the situation where people have fewer social contacts and few social roles in the society. Social isolation of LGBTQI indicates the absence of mutually rewarding relationships with other people in the society. Social isolation can be triggered during childhood and might get lingered to rest of life. Some of the people might voluntarily isolate themselves due to special life events like divorce or death of spouse (McInnerney, 2010). While others get involuntarily isolated from the society due to being disable or from different gender. Involuntary social isolation usually occurs when the social relationships demanded by the individual exceeds the situational capacity of the other people in society.
Socially isolated students get limited access to available resources due to some particular reason. For instance, a lesbian or gay student might get separated involuntarily from the rest of the students just because he/she cannot fit in the existing groups (McDermott, Roen, & Scourfield, 2008). According to Gundara & Sharm (2013), involuntary social isolation can have a significant negative impact on the group and individual learning of LGBTQI.
Social interdependence theory is a widespread researched area where researchers have linked and applied it in the education field. Social interdependence and cooperative learning have paved its way into the educational field rapidly (Johnson & Johnson, 2009). Since the beginning of human existence, small-group learning has been used. However, in 1966 proper cooperative learning practice was carried on in the University of Minnesota. Cooperative learning is built on social interdependence theory. According to Johnson & Johnson (2010), social interdependence exist in the society where the outcomes of individuals are affected by their own as well as others’ actions. Social interdependence is majorly of two types i.e. positive and negative interdependence. A positive interdependence exists when the individual’s goals achievements are positively correlated with the other surrounding people with whom they are connected and linked socially (Johnson & Johnson, 2009). A negative interdependence exists when the individual’s goals attainments are negatively correlated with the competitive linked people’s attainment of goals. Positive interdependence encourages the promotive interaction between groups while negative interdependence leads to oppositional interactional behavior (Johnson & Johnson, 2009).
Social independence is a concept applied when the goal achievement of one student are not affected by the goal achievement of the other persons. Being socially independent is not harmful as it leads to better confidence level in students (Johnson & Johnson, 2009). Social independence is based on the traditional learning techniques and promotes the use of traditional learning as compared to collaborative learning. Socially independent learners are closed learners as they reject to take in the input of other students (Johnson & Johnson, 2009). According to Hamamura et al. (2013), socially independent learner is subject to social rejection. LGQBTI students typically face social rejection in educational platform by the group member for exhibiting different behavior than them. Baker & Clark (2010) pointed out social rejection to be the major cause of social independence that can give birth to imaginative thinking in students. Socially independent and socially rejected students like LGQBTI tend to imagine a lot but they remain in isolation due to limited access to resources. Social rejection can be taken negatively by LGQBTI students if they value belonging to a group more than working independently (Tsay & Brady, 2012). For example, a lesbian or gay student who longs for working in group and making friends may get rejected due to being gay/lesbian. This will impact their learning outcomes and academic performance negatively. Zohar & Dori (2003) concluded that socially independent learners lack support of other learners due to which they can achieve higher order thinking.
When it comes to LGQBTI group learning, social interdependence can play a vital role. It is an important learning tool as it allows the groups of people to come up with better solutions and learning outcomes as compared to socially independent group of students (Renn, 2017). Social independent theory emphasize on independence of students when it comes to learning hence it promotes and facilitates the idea of traditional learning. On the contrary, social interdependence focuses on collaborative techniques being used for LGQBTI groups (Renn, 2017). Through social interdependence and cooperative learning techniques, students tend to work together at a jointly specific tasks and assignments. The teachers tend to assign roles to students in the group, defines the clear instructions to the group members and collects the data on each group as it works. According to Johnson & Johnson (2009), cooperative learning is being used by many different teachers in so many different subject areas and settings throughout preschool till adults’ education system.
Driver (2007) conducted a research on LGQBTI youth and described the environment of school to be “strictly heteronormative space” where the students tend to hide their feelings and sexuality. Renn (2017) stated that students belonging to LGQBTI community are not deemed to fit the gender stereotypes and are typical victims of bullying which in turn affects the learning ability of these group members. Driver (2007) underlined the importance of using collaborative learning techniques while teaching LGQBTI group of students as this can have important influence on their attitudes.
Social interdependence can positively impact the cooperative learning environment for LGQBTI. Under cooperative learning based on social interdependence theory, the teachers might make ad hoc groups that last from few minutes to one class period. Due to making ad hoc groups, LGQBTI students get engage into quick dialogues and/or activities that might be focused on material to be learnt. Informal and formal cooperative learning groups can positively influence the learning behavior of LGQBTI students. Social integration, inclusion of LGQBTI students and the increased diversity of students have increased the demand and importance of collaborative and cooperative learning techniques. Choi et al. (2009) highlighted the positive influences of cooperative learning and social interdependence on the diverse student groups. The collaboration and cooperation amongst the students result in higher achievement, greater social competence, higher self-esteem, improved caring and supportive behavior and greater psychological health. Cooperative learning results in improvement in teamwork skills and group processing.
Social independence is supportive theory for traditional learning methods in education based on deep learning through memorizing (Johnson & Johnson, 1999). The traditional strategies include class-room lecture methods where each student is marked on his/her independent study through deep learning and memorizing of study material. In traditional strategies, LGQBTI students do not feel linked with the other student that might lead to social rejection (Johnson & Johnson, 1999). Cooperative learning allows the students to actively participate in the lecture and interact with each other which provides the students the opportunity to develop feelings of cooperation and care for other fellow students. In absence of group work or cooperative learning environment, traditional method can negatively impact the LGQBTI group of students (Johnson & Johnson, 1999).
According to Ahmad and Mahmood (2010), instructional teaching methods can be used along with traditional teaching techniques in absence of cooperative learning techniques for motivating the students in one class room. For LGQBTI students at tertiary education level, campus climate, identity development and social relationships are some of the major challenges. These can be solved from following cooperative learning strategies in which groups can be formed in class setting for solving assignments and carrying on projects. Key issue of LGQBTI students is lack of belonging, safety and inclusion in the tertiary education setting. Education leaders have now an opportunity in terms of cooperative learning to maintain higher education for LGQBTI students’ development and learning.
In a nutshell, social independence, social interdependence and social isolation, all have merits and demerits in learning. While social interdependence is positively associated with best learning opportunities being provided to LGQBTI students, social independence is both positively and negatively associated with the learning abilities of these students. On one hand, social independence improves personal thinking and foster higher level creativity amongst the students while on other it also negatively affects the students who like to work in groups. Each of the above social aspects can be applied appropriately in the learning environment for improving educational facilities available for LGQBTI students at tertiary education level. The educational leaders are required to consider incorporating the cooperative learning activities including group formation, peer discussion and group assignment for improving the learning environment of LGQBTI students at large.
Ahmad, Z., & Mahmood, Z. (2010). Effects of Cooperative Learning vs. Traditional Instruction on Prospective Teachers’ Learning Experience and Achievement. Journal of Faculty of Educational Sciences,, 43(1), 151-164.
Baker, T., & Clark, J. (2010). Cooperative learning–a double-edged sword: A cooperative learning model for use with diverse student groups. Intercultural Education, 21(3), 257-268.
Choi, J., Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (2009). Relationship among cooperative learning experiences, social interdependence, children’s aggression, victimization, and prosocial behaviors. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 23(2), 112-119.
Driver, S. B. (2007). Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Students: Needs and Retention Assesment. Journal of College Student Development, 48(3), 311-330.
Gundara, J. S., & Sharm, N. (2013). Some issues for cooperative learning and intercultural education. Intercultural Education, 24(3), 237-250.
Hamamura, T., Xu, Q., & Du, Y. (2013). Culture, social class, and independence–interdependence: The case of Chinese adolescents. International Journal of Psychology, 48(3), 344-351.
Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (2009). An Educational Psychology Success Story: Social Interdependence Theory and Cooperative Learning. Educational researcher, 38(5), 365-379.
Johnson, D., & Johnson, R. T. (1999). Making Cooperative Learning Work. Theory Into Practice, 24(2), 67-73.
McDermott, E., Roen, K., & Scourfield, J. (2008). Avoiding shame: Young LGBT people, homophobia and self‐destructive behaviours in schools. Education, Culture, Health & Sexuality, 10(8), 815-829.
McInnerney, J. M. (2010). Social isolation, Social interaction and the creation of a sense of community. Educational Technology & Society, 7(3), 73-81.
Renn, K. (2017, April 10). LGBTQ Students on Campus: Issues and Opportunities for Higher Education Leaders. Retrieved April 2, 2018, from https://www.higheredtoday.org/2017/04/10/lgbtq-students-higher-education/
Tsay, M., & Brady, M. (2012). A case study of cooperative learning and communication pedagogy: Does working in teams make a difference? Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning,, 10(2), 78-89.