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Cohesion, not competition;In Brief

Competition has little or no effect on children's learning, a joint US-Australian study has concluded. Researchers who carried out 250 classroom observations in Dallas elementary schools have reported that sharing and involvement are the essential preconditions for learning at all levels of achievement. They also believe that learning gains are greatest in those classrooms where cohesion is high, friction is low and children register high satisfaction levels.

Barry Fraser of Curtin University and his co-researchers, Michael Dryden and William Webster of the Dallas schools service, base these conclusions on not only classroom observations but a questionnaire survey of 5,800 junior-school pupils. The children's opinions of their classrooms were analysed using the latest statistical techniques.

Contact: Barry J Fraser, Curtin University of Technology, GPO Box U1987, Perth 6845, Australia.

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