The next time you see a group of kids, notice what they’re doing. They’re mingling, yelling, and chasing each other within minutes of a first introduction. This is their natural inclination: toward cooperation, strategic planning, and fulfillment of collective objectives (even if it’s to destroy the other team’s igloo fort).
But in most classes, learning is done individually–teachers stress that homework, tests, and most projects are to be completed without the help of classmates.
When kids work together, everyone learns faster and the product is better. Questions are answered by other kids, who in turn strengthen their own leadership qualities. Everyone learns how to cooperate, what roles they inhabit, how to manage and receive feedback from their peers–invaluable qualities that will serve them endlessly in whatever career they chose for themselves.
Yes, there are speed bumps (namely the free rider problem), but still. Shouldn’t we be putting our energy into making cooperative systems more efficient rather than isolating our least self-conscious population, thereby fighting the current?