This paper examines how Cooperative learning (CL) and democracy can be examined in relation to one another. CL supports a social constructivist view of students learning together to form knowledge through direct interaction. The overriding benefits of CL are that that it is an effective strategy for maximising both social and academic learning outcomes of all, because it focuses on developing positive relationships between students, improving their social skills. This promotes positive social and emotional development and lays the foundations for wellbeing and good mental health. It is precisely this inclusive pedagogy that encourages a democratic classroom environment and a resultant pedagogy that ensures all students’ learning will be considered. A democratic society needs students who are respectful and have a sense of justice so teachers who use this pedagogy help to promote such students. This study clarified the relationship between components of CL and the development of a democratic classroom, particularly the notion of inclusive practice for all which is developed through CL. It also examines how one teacher developed an inclusive democratic classroom “in action” through cooperative learning. It explores Jill’s understandings of CL and how these relate to the development of her inclusive democratic classroom and to her developing a democracy stance. Her reflective diary, interview comments, action plans and classroom observations are analysed in this case study approach to demonstrate how her ‘stance’ was strengthened and how she developed a tolerant, respectful and inclusive classroom culture. Teachers, like Jill who develop this stance can build this democratic class culture and ensure all students are included
This study clarified the relationship between Cooperative Learning and the development of a democratic classroom using a single teacher's practice 'in action' as a case study. CL centres on the notion of inclusive practice for all and is a pedagogy that encourages all students' participation in classroom life. Jill's understandings of CL, and how these understandings related to the development of her inclusive democratic classroom and her 'democracy stance' (Vinterek, 2010), are indicated. Her reflective diary, interview comments, action plans and classroom observations are analysed in this case study approach to demonstrate how her ''stance'' already promoted democracy, and how after a period of intervention of professional learning in CL she strengthened it. This paper has implications for those of us who believe education should promote a citizenry which values equity.