Cooperative Learning in the scope of the União do Vegetal
Cristiane Carvalho Holanda*
| July 4th, 2019
Cooperative Learning (CL) is an educational innovation that, as well as being a structured technique that’s effective in learning, contributed to the construction of a more collaborative, just and sustainable world, because being cooperative and having solidarity is fundamental to our survival. The five elements that integrate this learning technique (positive interdependence, promotive interaction, individual and collective responsibility, social abilities, group processing) are present in the Beneficent Spiritist Center União do Vegetal. This is a finding observed in the investigation realized by me in my doctoral thesis at the Federal University of Ceará (Brasil) and the University of Valladolid (Spain)**, founded on the ideas of the educators Anastasio OVEJERO, David and Roger JOHNSON, Spencer KAGAN and Paulo FREIRE.
Some nations – the United States, Norway, Japan, Finland, Portugal, Spain, Brazil and others – have invested strongly in the methodology of Cooperative Learning, which points to its relevance. In the testimonials of its associates, it was possible to identify that the UDV has similar principles to those of Cooperative Learning. In the training processes that occur in the União do Vegetal, solidary support, the maximization of material and human resources, collaboration with development of socioemotional competencies and the increase of the capacity for positive influence can be perceived, strengthening the sentiment of belonging and well-being.
Man is not an island and we need one another to live. We know of the social interdependence that exists between us. What a human being does affects the whole planet, and we only survive if we learn to think about one another and concentrate on what is best for all.
In the testimonials of the associates of the Direction of the UDV collected within the scope of the study we encountered points of convergence of CL with the doctrine and practice of this religious institution, among these we highlight the manifestation of Maria Izolda Cela Coelho (Counselor of the Nucleo Estrela Brilhante, Fortaleza-CE), when she affirms:
“We observe each person with depth, attentive to their necessities, fortifying our positive interdependence. We have a conviction that Union makes Strength. Each one of us has talents and competencies, and in cooperation is that we arrive together to victory. A great example is our walk towards spiritual evolution, the arrival to a fuller spiritual dimension is interdependent. When new associates arrive, we assist them in the transformation process, and we also come improving”.
Also Tadeo Feijão, President of the General Directorate of the Center, says that the five elements of Cooperative Learning are integrated in all processes of the UDV:
“The responsibility is a very important pillar, including when Mestre Gabriel delivered the Star to Mestre Monteiro “for the responsibility”. The work done is voluntary and the responsibility may not fail. The magnification of consciousness begins from responsibility. The positive interdependence is ever more present in the UDV, we relate together in a respectful manner and take into consideration the contributions of each one. It’s like a chain, when a weakest link exists, we arrive together to strengthen it. Each Nucleo is as a cooperative learning cell and it’s important that these cells work ever more united in each Department, Nucleo in the region and in the whole União”.
Antônio de Pádua Campos Filho (Mestre of the Nucleo Estrela Brilhante) synthesizes this affinity between Cooperative Learning and the principles employed by the UDV, affirming:
“The UDV is a cooperative community of learning, including that the name UNIÃO has a connection with learning in cooperation. We learn together”.
The studies in development prove that in the União do Vegetal and in Cooperative Learning the people work together to develop their talents and abilities in aspects by way of cooperation. This goes beyond simply working in a group. It proposes a new way of feeling and of being to strengthen a culture of peace and, in this manner, improve the world in which we live.
*Cristiane Carvalho Holanda is associate of the Nucleo Immaculada Concepción (Madrid-Spain).