Cooperative Learning Strategy as a Way of Improving Students' Achievement and Attitudes towards EFL Learning


Scientific Study, 2016
22 Pages

Free online reading

Table of Contents

Abstract

1. Introduction

2. Research Problem and Purpose

3. Research Questions

4. Research Methodology
4.1 Research Design and Methods
4.2 Participants
4.3 Reliability and Validity

5. Results
5.1 Demographic Data
5.2 Students’ Cooperative Learning Experience
5.3 Students’ Attitude towards Cooperative Learning
5.4 Improvement of Students’ Attitude and Achievement
5.4.1 Teachers’ Interviews
5.4.2 Classroom Observations
5.4.3 The more Engaging Class Atmosphere and the Increase in Students' Participation
5.4.4 Teachers’ Interviews
5.4.5 Classroom Observations

6. Discussion of Results
6.1 Students’ Cooperative Learning Experience
6.2 Students’ Attitude towards Cooperative Learning
6.3 Improvement of Students’ Attitude and Achievement
6.4 The more Engaging Class Atmosphere and the Increase in Students Participation

7. Conclusions and Recommendations
7.1 Conclusions
7.2 Recommendations
7.3 Suggestions for Further Research Study

References

Appendix

Abstract

The study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of cooperative learning in improving students' achievement and attitude towards learning. Questionnaires were administered to sixty students. In-depth interviews were conducted with two teachers; besides, two classes were observed to investigate students' cooperative learning experience, students' attitude towards cooperative learning, improvements in students' achievement and how cooperative learning impacted on students' performance and class participation. The results indicated that there are numerous benefits that can be attributed to cooperative learning such as enhancement in class participation, improvements in students' performance and achievement and more approval of tasks as well as creating better social relations among peers.

Keywords: attitudes; cooperative learning; improve; participation; students’ achievement.

1. Introduction

There is a lot of controversy about the most effective pedagogical strategy to be used in higher levels of education. Indeed there are a variety of teaching strategies that instructors can use to improve students achievement and attitude inside classrooms. One of these strategies is the cooperative learning strategy. Such strategies make classes more student-centered by allowing more active engagement of students rather than sitting passively.

Cooperative learning is a student-centered learning approach. It entails students work together on structured assignments or projects under conditions that assure learning and achievement. In other words, cooperative learning is referred to by Johnson & Johnson (1991) as a teaching strategy in which small groups, each with students of different levels of ability, work together and use a variety of learning activities which assure certain criteria. These include: positive interdependence, individual accountability, face-to-face interaction, appropriate use of collaborative skills and effective group processing, i.e. regular self-assessment of group functioning: Once cooperative learning is implemented according to these five basic criteria, it can give great results of improved work and achievement, improved behavior and attendance, increased self-confidence and feeling of responsibility which in return influences learning in a great way.

The cooperative learning strategy overlaps with constructivism learning theory. Both of them emphasize the importance of interactivity. According to Johnson & Johnson (1991), while constructivism focuses on the personal experience of the learner to grasp a new knowledge, cooperative learning focuses not only on the personal experience of the learner, but also focuses and uses the experiences of others.

Another theory which is related to cooperative learning is the motivation theory. In order for students to succeed and achieve the goals that are shared by the groups, they need to be motivated. Ball (2012) defines motivation as, “forces acting either on or within a person to initiate behavior. It is what gets you going. It strengths the ambition and increases the persistence to follow and achieve the goals”. Students’ urgent need to learn and succeed will be activated even more within a desired classroom environment.

There have been many studies and researches on cooperative learning that showed the significance and the positive effect of this strategy on the educational process. One of these studies was conducted by Felder & Brent (1994) who found that students became so used to this strategy of cooperative learning that they followed it in other classes not only the class in which the study took place. For example, a group of selected students who were taught by using the traditional teaching methods “teacher-centered classroom in which students were spoon-fed” gained an average of 50%. However, the same group that was taught by using the cooperative learning strategy “in which the teacher is more like a facilitator or a guide” gained an average of 72% on the first test and 78% on the second test. So as we can see here, students are not just mastering the subject more, they are improving in each time. The study concluded that the cooperative learning strategy had a noticeable positive effect on altering students’ studying habits and their learning achievements.

Furthermore, a variety of related literature was examined to provide the fundamental basics for this research paper. This chapter includes three subsections; the first subsection briefly defines cooperative learning and states the five basic elements of cooperative learning. The second subsection compares between competitive and cooperative structures, reviews a variety of selected cooperative learning structures and states the differences among them. The third subsection is about the effectiveness of implementing cooperative learning inside classrooms.

2. Research Problem and Purpose

Individuality, passiveness, lack of interaction and cooperation inside EFL classrooms affect students’ attainment badly. Students consider teachers to be the only providers of knowledge. This too much reliance on the teacher together with the very limited exposure to English outside the classroom especially in the Libyan context make students unwilling to interact, participate or use the language which hampers their over-all learning. This research paper suggests the cooperative learning strategy which is more student-centered learning strategy as a solution. Therefore, this research is conducted to investigate the benefits and effectiveness of implementing the cooperative learning strategy inside EFL classrooms.

3. Research Questions

A number of questions were used to guide this research.

1. Have students’ ever experienced cooperative learning?
2. What are the students’ attitudes towards cooperative learning?
3. Does cooperative learning make class more student-centered that improves students’ attitudes towards learning and enhances students’ achievement?
4. Does cooperative learning make the class atmosphere more engaging and allow more student participation in class activities?

4. Research Methodology

This research was undertaken using both quantitative and qualitative research methods. It involved a questionnaire for students, interviews with teachers and classroom observations.

4.1 Research Design and Methods

This was a descriptive research that took place in the English Department of the Faculty of Education. It was conducted to determine the effectiveness of cooperative learning strategy in improving students’ achievement and attitude towards learning. The context of this study was the Department of English, Faculty of Education, Misurata University.

A variety of research methods was used to address the research questions properly. It was anticipated that this research study would be best conducted with a mixed methodology. The questionnaire as a method for data collection is a very effective quantitative technique because it enables a large amount of data to be obtained over a short period of time. In this particular study, the questionnaires (see appendix I) was used to elicit students’ views on cooperative learning investigating the extent to which students benefited from cooperative learning.

Data gained using qualitative techniques was also needed. This was done by interviews and classroom observations (A sample of each tool stated in appendix II and III). The researcher intended to interview two teachers to have an idea about their use of cooperative learning strategies in their classrooms and to assess the improvements students have made which teachers noticed. The interview is a useful technique because it enables participants to give their own view on the topic.

It was also necessary to do some classroom observations to observe the cooperative learning techniques the teachers used in their classroom. Also observations were done to identify the effectiveness of particular types of cooperative learning activities as well as to assess how well students respond to teachers’ instructions and how that improves their behavior and attitude towards learning within their group in the classroom. Post observation interviews were conducted. These took place in the classroom itself after the lesson has finished. They were used to make sure of some data and back it up

Regarding the analysis of the data gather for this study, different methods were used to analyze such data. The data collected from questionnaires was coded in the form of percentages and frequency distributions. The data collected from observations and interviews was interpreted qualitatively to ensure accurate inferences.

4.2 Participants

A total of sixty students enrolled in the English Department were handed questionnaires to fill in. They were at different levels and from different semesters.

Two teachers were interviewed, those teachers had a long teaching career and taught various courses that required using the cooperative learning strategy to better facilitate students understanding and to ensure learning. Two classes were observed which included a number of twenty five students in each.

4.3 Reliability and Validity

It was very important that this research was reliable and valid. The researcher ensured that steps were taken in this regard. The researcher made sure that items on the questionnaire and interview sheet used represented the topic being tested. Different methods for data collection were used to assure the trustworthiness of data and to ensure the accuracy and consistency of results.

5. Results

This section provides the results of the study. Specifically, there are details of the findings of a questionnaire that involved sixty students, observations of two classes and interviews with two teachers, one female and one male. The results of the questionnaire are presented both quantitatively and qualitatively, while the results of the observations and interviews are presented qualitatively. The findings are presented under headings that correspond to the four research questions of the study.

The sixty questionnaires that were distributed to students were completed and returned. The questionnaire addressed the first and second research questions. Two teachers were interviewed. The researcher was able to visit two classes twice. Based on the time frame in which the research was conducted, the rate of responses for this research was sufficient and appropriate. Both teachers’ interviews and observations tackled the third and fourth research questions.

5.1 Demographic Data

The data included the gender and the semester to which the students belonged. In particular, it consisted of four male and fifty-six female students. Table three (1) shows the distribution of participants by semester.

Table (1) Number and percentage of respondents by semester

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The following sub-headings correspond to the four research questions that outline the specific results of the study.

5.2 Students’ Cooperative Learning Experience

This section provides a summary of the responses given on the students' questionnaire items.

Table (2) summary of students' cooperative learning experience

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An examination of table (2) reveals that: 96% of students indicated that they participated in group activities before, while 3% of them indicated that they did not. 65% of students said that they participated in group activities only inside the classroom; whereas 35% of them said that they participated both inside and outside the classroom.

As indicated by students, the majority (65%) of them typically work in groups of 2-4 individuals; 28% of students indicated they typically work in groups of 5-7 individuals, while only 6% indicated that their typical group size is between 8-10 individuals.

When students were asked whether they prefer working in small or large group; questionnaire data indicated that the majority of students prefer to work in small groups (4 or less individuals), students gave reasons such as "large groups tend to be noisy" , "in large groups I do not get enough chance to participate" , "in large groups communication breakdown occurs" .

81% of students indicated that their teacher sometimes uses cooperative learning strategies in classroom; 15% of them indicated that their teacher always uses cooperative learning strategies in classroom, while only a minority (3%) of them indicated that their teacher never used cooperative learning strategies in classroom.

5.3 Students’ Attitude towards Cooperative Learning

The following table provides specific results about student’ attitude towards cooperative learning.

Table (3) Summary of Students' Attitudes towards Cooperative Learning

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An examination of table (3) reveals that:

76% of students agreed that they like to work in groups, 18% remained neutral; while 5% disagreed.

83% of students agreed that when they work in a group they achieve more than when they work alone, 12% remained neutral; while 5% disagreed.

81% of students agreed that cooperative learning can improve their attitude towards work, 15% remained neutral; while 3% disagreed.

78% of students agreed that cooperative learning makes them more responsible as they are obliged to do their part, 12% remained neutral; while 10% disagreed.

75% of students agreed that they willingly participate in group activities, 17% remained neutral; while 8% disagreed.

70% of students agreed that working in groups helps them to learn quicker and retain information more for tests,25% remained neutral; while 5% disagreed.

57% of students agreed that they get to ask more questions about things they did not understand, 32% remained neutral; while 12% disagreed.

78% of students agreed that in groups they can learn from their partners, 18% remained neutral; while 3% disagreed.

85% of students agreed that cooperative learning makes the class environment so lively and more engaging, 8% remained neutral; while 7% disagreed.

88% of students agreed that working in groups makes them more confident and it helps them socialize more, 10% remained neutral; while 2% disagreed.

5.4 Improvement of Students’ Attitude and Achievement

This section highlights the findings regarding the improvement of students’ attitude and achievement. The findings were drawn upon teachers’ interviews and observations.

5.4.1 Teachers’ Interviews

It is believed that students are more comfortable with traditional teacher-centered classroom, since the teacher dominates most of the time and only little work is done by students and this obviously results in slackening. Do you agree that using more student-centered strategies such cooperative learning enhances students’ general achievement and attitude towards learning?

Both interviewed teachers agreed that using such strategy makes the class more student-centered and improves students’ attitude and achievement. One of the teachers stated that:

students are the focal point. When I use cooperative learning strategies, I am more like a guide or facilitator and this allows students’ autonomy. to me it seems they feel more a part of the process not just I am there to teach and all they (students) are to do is listen and make notes.

The other teacher said that “ once I set students in groups, there is a noticeable increase in their achievement and even their attitude towards work improves as they work cooperatively.” The two teachers were also asked whether they notice an increase in students’ performance when they work in groups. Both teachers indicated that when some form of group work is used; whether within or outside classroom there is an improvement is student performance. One teacher stated that “even the weaker students seem to perform a lot better.” The other teacher declared that “when students are assessed on the material that they covered during the group activity they do better.”

5.4.2 Classroom Observations

Class A

This was a two-hour class in which students were divided into groups of five. The teacher started the lesson by giving an overview of the topic. Students listened to a conversation three times and then were asked to answer some questions individually. The teacher elicited some answers from students and monitored students making sure that each student answered correctly. Later, students were split into five, they were asked to write a similar conversation and then role-play it. Students were allotted fifteen minutes to distribute roles and complete the task; they seemed to work well within their groups. One of the students was heard complaining that the teacher may not be fair with marks, but the teacher interfered and made clear that “each student is going to be assessed individually.” The teacher walked around checking students work, helping students who ask for help and making sure that each student in involved in the activity and got some work to do. Then each group role-played its conversation in front of the class. Positive feedback was given by the teacher and then the teacher together with the students discussed the mistakes that were made by them. At the end of the lesson the teacher and the students reflected on the lesson, they said that they enjoyed working together in the group and were more comfortable and confident.

Post observation interview was conducted with the teacher after the class has finished. When the teacher was asked about whether she distributes the roles or the students do that by themselves, she stated that “I prefer to do that by myself as I make sure that students take roles interchangeably, but sometimes I just let them take the role they want.”

Class B

This was a reading class in which students were split into six groups of four. The teacher introduced the lesson by asking students to read the text individually, they were given five minutes to read and then give the main idea of the text. The teacher together with the students discussed the main idea of the topic and identified the key words. Students worked out the meaning of the new words and later the teacher gave a definition for each. After that, students were set into groups of four, they were asked to do a jigsaw activity. Each student of a “home” group specialized in one aspect of the topic. Students mingled around and met with members from other groups who were assigned the same aspect, and after they mastered the material, they returned to the “home” group and taught the material to their group members. They were given sufficient time to do that. The whole class was active and they seemed to enjoy it.

Post observation interview was conducted with the teacher and she stated that “whenever I use such strategy I guarantee that students are actively engaged in the teaching-learning process and that improves their achievement as well as their attitude.”

5.4.3 The more Engaging Class Atmosphere and the Increase in Students' Participation

This section reports the findings regarding the cooperative learning engaging class atmosphere and the increase in students’ participation. The findings were drawn upon teachers’ interviews and classroom observations.

5.4.4 Teachers’ Interviews

Is students’ participation increased when you incorporate cooperative learning strategies?

Both teachers indicated that once they use cooperative learning in their classroom there is a marked increase in students’ participation.

The following are some statements given by the teachers:

Teacher 1 : “when I use group activities within my class, the students participate a lot more than when I use a more teacher-centered approach.”

Teacher 2 : “in everything you will find those students do not care about learning, but anyway I see an increase in participation when I use group type activities.”

Have you found that cooperative learning makes the teaching-learning experience more dynamic and enjoyable?

Overall the teachers indicated that the teaching-learning environment is more dynamic and enjoyable. Below are some of their responses.

Teacher 1: “yes, it adds more dynamism to the teaching-learning context. In the past I did not use a lot of these methods, but now I use them as I valued them more, I can clearly see a difference in my classroom.”

Teacher 2: “whenever I come to class with some group activities especially after a brief introduction to the topic, I have a very lively class. Sometimes I become afraid, maybe we are disturbing the other classes.”

5.4.5 Classroom Observations

Class A

In this class a teacher-centered approach was used for the first 30 minutes of the class, the teacher introduced the lesson, and then briefly she revised some material. The remaining hour of the class was devoted to students’ activity done in groups of four. It was observed that during the first 30 minutes of the class, even when the teacher asked some questions in an attempt to get students involved many did not know or just did not want to participate.

During the class activity students seemed more engaged. there was a greater level of involvement with most students actively participating. There was a high level of chatter as students were engaged in a lively discussion of the material given. Based on observation at the end of the class activity when given oral quizzes many more students participated. When students were asked to reflect on the class they said that it was good that they had this revision class, many things became clearer to them now.

Class B

This was an hour and a half class in which students were giving presentations. The teacher reminded the students that they already knew about this activity and that they were asked to bring some relevant material to the class and work in groups to finalize the task and ask for help if needed.

Student started presenting, they were working cooperatively that each member of the group had a role and was responsible for something. It was observed that the majority of students presented and that they were quite comfortable and confident as they were working with their friends.

6. Discussion of Results

In this section the findings of the study will be discussed in relation to research questions, in an attempt to assess the implications of the results and make conclusions. Based on the discussions and conclusions, recommendations and possible opportunities for further research will be made.

6.1 Students’ Cooperative Learning Experience

The vast majority (96%) of students indicated that they participated in group activities. This reflects the widespread use of the cooperative learning strategy inside classes. However, only 3% indicated that they did not participate in group activities before; students gave reasons including lack of interest and different learning styles.

As indicated by students, most of them (65%) said that they participated in groups only inside the classroom; this includes normal group activities such as jigsaw or think-pair-share activities. Whereas some of students (35%) said that they participated both inside and outside the classroom, outside class cooperative learning activities include visits to libraries, preparations for presentations, projects or seminars.

The results of the questionnaire showed that 65% of students typically work in groups of 2-4 individuals, this indicates that 2-4 individuals is the preferred group size for most of the students. However, about 28% of students indicated that their typical group size has been 5-7 individuals, while only 7% indicated that 8-10 individuals has been the typical size of their group, this is clearly the less preferred group size. Results also indicated that the vast majority of students prefer to work within small groups, students gave reasons such as “large groups tend to be noisy” , “in large groups I do not get enough chance to participate” , “in large groups communication breakdown occurs.” Such reasons justify students’ tendency to small groups.

Answers on teachers’ most frequent use of cooperative learning strategies in classroom showed that 82% of teachers sometimes use cooperative activities, 15% of students indicated that their teachers always use cooperative learning strategies in classroom, this shows teachers’ high approval of this strategy, only 3% indicated that their teacher never used cooperative strategies in classroom.

6.2 Students’ Attitude towards Cooperative Learning

The majority (76%) of students liked working in groups, 18% remained neutral; while 5% did not like working in groups, students who liked working in groups gave reasons such as “I feel comfortable and more encouraged when I work in groups” , “ working in groups makes me more motivated to get the work done in the right time” , “when I work in a group, I speak more fluently.”

The majority of questionnaire responses (83%) showed that students could achieve more when they work in a group, few students (12%) remained neutral; while very few (5%) disagreed with that. One teacher stated that "I can easily notice improvements in student' achievement when they work cooperatively." In observing students' achievement within classes, it was observed that cooperative students’ overall achievement was superior to those who worked individually.

- 82% of students said that cooperative learning can improve their attitude towards work.
- 78% of students indicated that cooperative learning makes them more responsible for their work as they are obliged to do their part.

This suggests that an overwhelming majority of participants have benefited from cooperative learning activities within their educational environment. One teacher said that “in cooperative groups students are more responsible and they complete tasks faster.” Many research studies have revealed that students completing cooperative learning group tasks tend to have higher self-esteem and a greater number of positive social skills (Johnson & Johnson 1991). In observing students’ attitude and behavior within groups students seemed to work well, they were actually enjoying tasks.

Most of students (75%) willingly participated in group activities. This shows that the majority of students participate in groups without being forced to. In class observations it was noticed that most of students were involved in groups, there were some students who did not take part in any task, when they were asked about the reason they simply said that they did not care or that they were not interested, so as we can see here students’ motivation and desire to achieve and succeed affect whether they participate or not.

- 70% of students indicated that working with their partners helps them to learn quicker and retain information more for tests.
- 56% of students said that they get to ask more questions about things they did not understand.
- 78% of students said that in groups they can learn from their partners.

The results of the questionnaire revealed that the majority of students have benefited from each other when they worked cooperatively. In observing students’ interactions within classes, some of the principles of cooperative learning such as positive interdependence in which each member contributes to the learning of the group (Johnson & Johnson 1991), promotive interaction where students promote each other’s’ learning by helping, asking, sharing and encouraging efforts to learn and social skills improvements (Johnson & Johnson 1991) were seen to be existed within the groups. One of the interviewed teachers stated that “students’ grades on materials that they covered in groups are much better than those which they studied individually.”

The vast majority (85%) of students indicated that cooperative learning makes the class environment so lively and more engaging. One of the interviewed teachers said that “cooperative activities make students feel more like a part of the teaching-learning process.” In class observations a great level of engagement was noticed as most of the students were participating actively.

88% of students said that working in groups makes them more confident and it helps them socialize more. One of the interviewed teachers stated that “In cooperative groups I find students more comfortable and confident, even shy students participate especially when I enable them to choose their own group members.” In observing students’ interactions within groups students showed some positive social skills such as encouraging and supporting each other to participate as they know that the success of the group is the success of the individual and vice versa.

6.3 Improvement of Students’ Attitude and Achievement

It is believed that students are more comfortable with the traditional teacher-centered classroom, since the teacher dominates most of the time and only little work is done by students and this obviously results in slackening. When teachers were asked whether they agree or disagree that using more student-centered strategies such as cooperative learning enhances students’ general achievement and attitude towards learning, both interviewed teachers said that using such strategy makes the class more student-centered and improves students’ attitude and achievement. Here are some statements given by teachers that support that:

Teacher1: “students are the focal point. When I use cooperative learning strategies, I am more like a guide or facilitator and this allows students’ autonomy and enhances achievement. To me it seems they feel more a part of the process not just I am there to teach and all they (students) are to do is listen and make notes.” In observing students’ behavior and achievement within classes students were seen working cooperatively and independently of their teacher. While they were getting the task done, the teacher walked around the class checking students work, helping students who ask for help and making sure that each students is involved in the activity and got some work to do. Students’ overall achievement was perceived to be superior as they completed the task before the time allotted has finished, they got some time left to practice their conversations before role-playing them.

Teacher2: “once I set students in groups, there is noticeable increase in their achievement because they feel more responsible for what they do and even their attitude towards work improves as they work cooperatively.” In class (A) observation it was noticed that, when the teacher and the students reflected on the lesson, they said that they enjoyed working together in the group and that they were more comfortable and confident. When students work cooperatively they take greater responsibility for their own learning. As noted in theory of constructivism learners construct knowledge for themselves relying on their personal experience. This highlights the true essence of cooperative learning, in which students would be taking greater responsibility not just for their own learning but the learning of others as well.

When teachers were asked whether they notice an increase in students’ performance when they work in groups, both of them indicated that when some form of group work is used, there is an improvement in students’ performance. One teacher stated that “even the weaker students seem to perform a lot better.” The other teacher declared that “when students are assessed on the material that they covered during the group activity they do better.” In a class (B) observation, after students completed a jigsaw activity successfully the teacher stated that “whenever I use such strategy I guarantee that students are actively engaged in the teaching-learning process and that improves their achievement as well as their attitude.”

6.4 The more Engaging Class Atmosphere and the Increase in Students Participation

In examining the responses of participants, there is a significant level of agreement among students regarding the engaging class atmosphere. A total of 85% of students said that cooperative learning makes the class so lively and more engaging. When teachers were asked whether student’s participation increased when they incorporated cooperative learning strategies, they said that when they use cooperative activities in their classroom there is a marked increase in students’ participation. Below are some statements given by them that support this:

Teacher1: “when I use group activities within my class, the students participate a lot more than when I use a more teacher-centered approach.”

Teacher2: “in everything you will find those students who do not care about learning, but anyway I see an increase in participation when I use group type activities.” Based on observation of class (A) it was noticed that during the first 30 minutes of a teacher-centered approach, students were not very engaged even when quizzed by the teacher. However, when the students did a class activity they seemed more engaged in a lively discussion. The teacher commented on the increase in participation adding that “even students who did not normally participate in the class do so when I use such strategy.”

Not only is there an increase in students' participation within the class, but from the interview teachers said that overall the teaching-learning environment is more dynamic and enjoyable. Below are some excerpts of their responses.

Teacher1: “it adds more dynamism to the teaching-learning context. I have tried to use more student-centered approaches, I noticed a difference in my class and they enjoy it.”

Teacher2: “whenever I come to class with some activity especially after a brief introduction to the topic, I have a very lively class.”

When students work together, they explain, discuss and teach what they know to classmates, this means that the knowledge is shared by all. Students work together to achieve a common goal, this should result in positive outcomes such as improvements in students' participation and more assurance of learning.

7. Conclusions and Recommendations

The preceding two chapters stated the results and discussed how they are related to the research questions. In this chapter, the major findings of the study will be presented and benefits will be discussed. Recommendation and possible opportunities for further research will be made.

7.1 Conclusions

Based on the findings the following conclusions have been derived:

1. It is clear that most of students in the English department have a good cooperative learning experience. Students are already familiar with and aware of the strategy because they gave quite informative responses on the part of the questionnaire that investigated students’ cooperative learning experience.
2. Based on the findings, considering the potential benefits of cooperative learning, one can conclude that cooperative learning is well accepted by most of students at the English department. Due to students appreciation of group work results.
3. It is evident that whenever students are a part of cooperative learning activities or assignments whether within the classroom or outside there is an improvement in their level of achievement and in their attitude towards work. The findings suggest that teachers believed that cooperative activities enhance students’ performance and create more approval of tasks.

To conclude, one can say that once cooperative learning activities are incorporated into classroom, there is a marked increase in students participation as there is more students engagement in tasks. The findings suggest that both students and teachers believed that cooperative learning facilitates good working relationships and enhances socialization.

7.2 Recommendations

Based on the findings of the research and conclusion reached, the following recommendations were made:

1. Since cooperative learning has been proven to have numerous benefits such as improvements in achievement, performance and enhanced class participation more emphasis should be placed by the department on promoting this technique.
2. Students major concern of cooperative learning is that careless, delinquent group members result in entire group being at disadvantage. Since cooperative learning speaks about individual accountability; teachers could formulate a method in which group members are graded individually and also group members should be able to evaluate each other with appropriate reasons. In this regard there would not be a case in which the whole group suffers for the carelessness of one.

7.3 Suggestions for Further Research Study

1. One way to expand this research would be identifying the effects of cooperative learning on students’ achievement using experimental approaches.
2. A more detailed study that examines the difference between competitive and cooperative learning strategies would provide a good base for other studies.

References

Ball, B.( 2012) Summary of Motivation : your coach website. Accessed in November, 2015. From www. Yourcoach.be/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/A-summary-of-motivation-theories1.pdf

Freeman, D. and Anderson, M. (2011) Techniques and principles in Language Teaching. OUP

Felder, R. and Brent, R. (1994) Cooperative Learning in Technical course: Procedures, Pitfalls and Payoffs. Accessed in November, 2015. From www.4.ncsu.edu/unity/lockers/users/felder/public/papers/coopreport.html

Johnson, D.W and Johnson, M.E. (1991) Cooperative Learning Methods. Minneapolis: Cooperative Language Center. From www.cooperation.org (accessed in November, 2015)

Kagan, S. (1994). The Structural Approach to Cooperative Learning. San Juan Capistrano: resources for teachers (P.13-14) accessed in December, 2015. From www. Ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_198912_ka gan. Pdf

Slavin, R. (1995) Cooperative learning: Theory, Research and Practice. (2nd edition), From www.ascd.org/ASCD/pdf/journals/ed_lead/el_1995_slavin.pdf. (accessed in November, 2015)

Appendix A

Students’ Questionnaire

Dear colleagues, you are kindly requested to fill in this questionnaire which investigates the effectiveness of cooperative learning strategy as a way of improving students’ achievement and attitude towards learning. This questionnaire is one among a variety of research methods that were used to gather information that helped in the fulfillment of the research project to get the EdB degree. Obtaining feedback from you is vital. Let your voice be heard. It should take about five minutes of your time.

Instructions: read the following questions carefully and tick the answer chosen.

Section I

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Section II

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Section III

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Section IV

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Thank you so much

Appendix B

Teachers' interview questions

1. It is believed that students are more comfortable with the traditional teacher-centered classroom since the teacher dominates most of the time and only few work is done by students and that obviously results in slackening. Do you agree that using more student-centered strategies such as cooperative learning enhances students' general achievement and attitude towards learning? And why?
2. Do you use cooperative learning strategies inside your classes?
3. Do you notice an increase in students’ performance when they work in groups?
4. Is students’ participation increased when you incorporate cooperative learning strategies?
5. Have you found that cooperative learning makes the teaching-learning experience more dynamic and enjoyable?

Appendix C

Class observations checklist

Rating scale: 1 =observed 2 = emphasis is needed 3 = not observed

1. Students showed interest in group activity by sitting close to group members and making eye contact with members.
2. Did not become frustrated or stop trying if activity was difficult.
3. Performed assigned role.
4. Each member in the group was assigned a role that all students participated in the activity.
5. Students asked teammates for help.
6. Group members were able to complete their task on time.
7. Students understood their lesson and had much fun.
8. Teammates encouraged and supported each other.
9. Students shared their ideas with their mates and made sure that each student knows the answer.
10. Students were serious and responsible for their roles.

22 of 22 pages

Details

Title
Cooperative Learning Strategy as a Way of Improving Students' Achievement and Attitudes towards EFL Learning
Course
English Language Education
Authors
Year
2016
Pages
22
Catalog Number
V335356
ISBN (Book)
9783668265202
File size
533 KB
Language
English
Tags
cooperative, learning, strategy, improving, students, achievement, attitudes
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Abdulhamid Onaiba (Author)Mohamed Abdalla Asghair Alatrish (Author), 2016, Cooperative Learning Strategy as a Way of Improving Students' Achievement and Attitudes towards EFL Learning, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/335356

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Title: Cooperative Learning Strategy as a Way of Improving Students' Achievement and Attitudes towards EFL Learning


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