Cooperation is not a foreign concept for students. They are told at all stages of life that it is important to cooperate with others. It is also the case that they are expected to be self-reliant and not afraid to accept the hard work that comes with doing things alone.
Step One: Claim
American author and political activist Helen Keller tells us that the best way to accomplish things is to work with others. Cooperation leads us towards success. Doing things alone prevents us from achieving success.
Step Two: Counterclaim
But sometimes it’s just more efficient to operate as an individual and not rely on others. In fact, it’s emotionally and intellectually exhausting to have to work with people and manage all of their different expectations and desires.
Step Three: Essential Question
How do we know if working with others will make us better off?
Dr. Steve Fouts is a social entrepreneur and educator from Chicago with over twenty years of experience teaching a wide range of classes in the mathematics and humanities-related fields on the high school and undergraduate level. Dr. Fouts graduated from University of Chicago’s Masters of Liberal Arts program in 1998 and received his doctorate in education from Benedictine University in 2010. Dr. Fouts has published numerous op-ed pieces focused on social justice in education and is active in Educators for Excellence, a policy advocacy organization representing teachers in multiple U.S. Cities.
When students interact with others, they have lots of moral decisions to make. It’s hard for them to decide exactly how to treat other people, especially strangers, since many times they don’t have much information to go on and so they must rely on their intuitive judgements and best guesses. How they decide to act reflects deeply upon their characters.