Effects of Implementing the Learning Together Method on EFL

Paragraph Writing and Social Skills of Eleventh Graders


Doctoral Thesis / Dissertation, 2016
197 Pages

Excerpt

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

Abstract

Table of Contents

List of Tables

List of Figures

List of Appendices

List of Abbreviations

CHAPTER ONE

1 . Introduction to the Chapter
1.1. Background to the Chapter
1.2. Statement of the Problem
1.3. Research Hypotheses
1.4. Objectives of the Study
1.5. Significance of the Study
1.6. Scope of the Study
1.7. Limitations of the Study
1.8. Definitions of Key Terms

CHAPTER TWO
A Review of Related Literature
Introduction
2.1. Historical Background of the LTM
2.2. Definitions of the LTM
2.3. Rationales for Using the LTM in the EFL Classroom-
2.4. LTM versus Competitive and Individualistic Learning
2.5. The LTM versus TLM
2.6. Elements of the LTM
2.6.1. Positive Interdependence
2.6.2. Face-To-Face Interaction
2.6.3. Individual and Group Accountability
2.6.4. Social Skills
2.6.5. Group Processing
2.7. Group Formation
2.8. Group Types of the LTM
2.8.1. Formal Groups
2.8.2. Informal Groups
2.8.3. Cooperative Base Groups
2.9. Drawbacks of the LTM
2.10. The History of Teaching Writing
2.11. Writing in an EFL/ESL Context
2.11.1. The Product Approach
2.11.2. The Process Approach
2.11.3. Genre-Based Approach
2.12.The Roles of English Language in Ethiopia
2.13. ELT in the Ethiopian Secondary Schools
2.14. ELT in Ethiopian Secondary Schools Based on the NETP
2.14.1. First and Second Cycles of ELT in Secondary School
2.14.2. An Overview of Writing Activities in Grade Eleven English Textbook
2.15. The LTM in the Ethiopian Context
2.16. Theoretical Frameworks of the Study
2.16.1. Social Interdependent Theoretical Perspective
2.16.2. Motivational Theoretical Perspective
2.16.3. Cognitive Theoretical Perspective
2.16.3.1. Cognitive Developmental Theoretical Perspective
2.16.3.2. Cognitive Elaborate Theoretical Perspective

CHAPTER THREE
Research Design and Methodology
3.1. Research Design
3.2.Sample and Sampling Techniques
3.2.1. Selection of a Preparatory School
3.2.2. Selection of Grade Level
3.2.3. Selection of Teachers and Students
3.3.Phases of the Experiment
3.4.Lesson Plan Preparations
3.5.Characteristics of the LTM Tasks for the Experimental Group
3.6.Instruments
3.6.1.Paragraph Writing Tests
3.6.2.Social Skills Questionnaire
3.6.3. Structured None-Participant Classroom Observation
3.6.4. Focus Group Interview
3.6.5. Semi-Structured Interview
3.7.Validity and Reliability of the Instruments
3.8. Data Analyses
3.8.1. Analyses of Paragraph Writing Pre-Post-Tests
3.8.2. Analyses of Social Skills Pre-Post-Questionnaire
3.8.3. Analyses of Structured Non-Participant Classroom Observation
3.8.4. Analyses of Focus Group and Semi-Structured Interviewees
3.9. Ensuring the Adequacy of Test Time and Test Instruction

CHAPTER FOUR
Analyses and Discussions of the Results of the Pilot Study 61 Introduction
4.1. Effects of the LTM on the Research Participants’ Paragraph Writing Skills
4.2. Effects of the LTM on the Research Participants’ Social Skills
4.3. Findings and Analyses of Classroom Observation
4.4. Qualitative Data Analyses and Interpretations
4.4.1. Teacher’s Semi-Structured Interview
4.4.2. Students’ Focus Group Interview
4.5. Lessons Learned from the Pilot Study
4.6. Summary of the Pilot Study

CHAPTER FIVE
Analyses and Discussions of Main Study Results
Introduction
5.1. Analyses of Results of Paragraph Writing Tests and Social Skills Questionnaire
5.1.1. Effects of the LTM on the Students’ Paragraph Writing Skills
5.1.2. Effects of the LTM on the Students’ Social Questionnaire
5.1.3. Analyses of Classroom Observations
5.2.Results of Students’ Focus Group Interview
5.3.Results of Teacher’s Semi-Structured Interview 5.4. Discussions of Results
5.4.1. Effects of the LTM on the Research Participants’ Paragraph Writing Achievements
5.4.2. Effects of the LTM on the Research Participants’ Social Skills Achievements

CHAPTER SIX
Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations
6.1. Summary
6.2. Conclusions
6.3. Recommendations

REFERENCES

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Above all, I would like to thank God, the most gracious, for the guidance, compassion, and mercy which He has bestowed upon me throughout my entire life and in particular while working on this dissertation.

First of all, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my PhD supervisors, Prof. AbiyYigzaw and Dr. Emily Boersma, for their support in every stage of the thesis work. Their invaluable assistance, support and guidance during the course of this study greatly shaped the whole work.

My sincere gratitude is also due to the grade 11 students, EFL teachers, and management of Yekatit 12 Preparatory School, where I conducted the pilot and main studies, for their support and help during the data collection phases. Without their assistance and participation, this study would not have been successful.

I would like to convey my thanks to Bahiar Dar University for granting me a financial support to carry out this research. Similarly, I wish to express my indebtedness to the MoE and WolaitaSodo University for the financial support they provided me for the study and refraining from undertaking extra work assignments throughout my study.

Finally, I am thankful to my wife, Kebebush Lemma, for her love,support, encouragement and sacrifices she made for me. I would also like to thank my daughter and son, HiwotWondwosen and YeabfrieWondwosen, who always gave me love and happiness during the long and reasonably difficult academic engagement I have gone through.

ABSTRACT

The target of this research was to examine whether or not the effects of implementing the learning together method improved eleventh graders’ paragraph writing skills in terms of content, vocabulary, layout, grammar and mechanics. The research also examined the extent to which the implementation of the learning together method brought about changes on social skills in relation to communication, leadership, group management and conflict resolution skills. The quasi-experimental research was employed and the sample population was taken from two sections of eleventh grade. The learning together method was implemented in the experimental group after the students had been made to have awareness about it whereas in the control group, the students were taught their lessons through the same method in which the elements and theoretical perspectives of the method were not used. Data were collected through tests, questionnaire, structured non-participant observation checklist, focus group interview and semi-structured interview. Dependent t-tests were employed to test whether or not there were significant intra-group differences in paragraph writing and social skills at 0.05 risk levels whereas independent samples t-tests were used to check if there were significant inter-group differences in paragraph writing tests and social skills questionnaire at 0.05 alpha levels. The analyses of paragraph writing pre-test and social skills pre-questionnaire of the inter-groups showed that both groups had similar backgrounds in writing paragraphs and practicing social skills at the initial stage of this research. Nevertheless, after the treatments had been given to the experimental research participants, the analyses of the data indicated that the experimental group outscored significantly (p<0.05) the control group on paragraph writing post-test and social skills post-questionnaire. This indicates that the implementation of the learning together method based on social interdependence, motivational and cognitive perspectives, and the elements of the method, i.e. positive interdependence, face-to-face interaction, individual and group accountability, collaborative skills and group processing brought about changes on the experimental group. Therefore, the major findings of this study reveal that the method enabled the participants in the experimental group to show improvements in paragraph writing and social skills.

List of Tables

Table 1.1. Independent Samples T-Test Results of the Experimental and Control Groups on Paragraph Writing Pre-Test

Table 2.1. The LTM versus TLM-

Table 3.1. Amendments on Data Gathering Tools

Table 4.1. Difference between the Mean Scores of the Experimental and Control Groups on Paragraph Writing Pre-Test

Table 4.2. Independent Samples T‑Test Results of the Control and Experimental Groups on Paragraph Writing Post-Test

Table 4.3. Paired Samples T-Test Results of the Control Group on Paragraph Writing Pre‑Post‑Tests in Terms of Content, Vocabulary, Layout, Grammar and Mechanics

Table 4.4. Paired Samples T-Test Results of the Experimental Group on Content, Vocabulary, Layout, Grammar and Mechanics Pre-Post-Tests

Table 4.5. Independent Samples T-Test Results of the Control and Experimental Groups on Social Skills before Intervention

Table 4.6. Independent Samples T-Test Results of the Control and Experimental Groups on Social Skills Post-Intervention

Table 4.7. Paired Samples T‑Test Results of the Control Group on Social Skills Pre‑Post‑Questionnaire

Table 4.8. Paired Samples T-Test Results of the Experimental Group on Social Skills Pre‑Post‑Questionnaire

Table 4.9. Comparison of Classroom Observation Results of the Control and Experimental Groups on Communication Skills

Table 4.10. Comparison of Classroom Observation Results of the Control and Experimental Groups on Leadership Skills

Table 4.11. Comparison of Classroom Observation Results of the Control and Experimental Groups on Group Management Skills

Table 4.12. Comparison of Classroom Observation Results of the Control and Experimental Groups on Conflict Resolution Skills

Table 5.1. Independent Samples T-Test Results of the Control and Experimental Groups on Social Skills before Intervention

Table 5.2. Independent Samples T‑Test Results of the Control and Experimental Groups on Paragraph Writing Post-Test

Table 5.3. Paired Samples T-Test Results of the Experimental Group on Content, Vocabulary, Layout, Grammar and Mechanics Pre-Post-Tests

Table 5.4. Paired Samples T-Test Results of the Control Group on Paragraph Writing Pre‑Post‑Tests in Terms of Content, Vocabulary, Layout, Grammar and Mechanic

Table 5.5. Independent Samples T-Test Results of the Control and Experimental Groups on Social Skills before Intervention

Table 5.6. Independent Samples T-Test Results of the Control and Experimental Groups on Social Skills Post-Intervention

Table 5.7: Paired Samples T‑Test Results of the Control Group on Pre-Post-Questionnaire of Social Skill

Table 5.8. Paired Samples T-Test Results of the Experimental Group on Pre‑Post- Questionnaire of Social Skills

Table 5.9. A Comparison of Classroom Observation Results of the Control and Experimental Groups on Communication Skills

Table 5.10. A Comparison of Classroom Observation Results of the Control and Experimental Groups on Leadership Skills

Table 5.11. A Comparison of Classroom Observation Results of the Control and Experimental Groups on Leadership Skills

Table 5.12. A Comparison of Classroom Observation Results of the Control and Experimental Groups on Conflict Resolution Skills

List of Figures

Figure 1: Outcome

Figure 2: Integration of Theoretical Perspectives on the LTM

List of Appendices

Appendix 1: The Students’ Argumentative Paragraph Writing on Modern versus Traditional Medicine in their Exercise Book

Appendix 2: The Students’ Paragraph Writing on Different Issues

Appendix 3: Paragraph Writing Lessons from Grade Eleven English Textbook

Appendix 4: Raw Data of the Students’ Paragraph Writing on Different Issues

Appendix 5: Paragraph Writing Pre-Test for Eleventh Graders (Pilot Study)

Appendix 6: Paragraph Writing Post-Test for Eleventh Graders (Pilot Study)

Appendix 7: Paragraph Writing Pre-Test for Eleventh Graders (Main Study)`

Appendix 8: Paragraph Writing Post-Test for Eleventh Graders (Main Study)

Appendix 9: Social Skills Questionnaire to be Filled by Grade 11 Students

Appendix 10: Structured Non-Participant Classroom Observation Checklist to Assess Social Skills

Appendix 11: Focus Group Interview for the Research Participants in The Experimental Group (Pilot Study)

Appendix 12: Focus Group Interview for the Research Participants in the Experimental Group (Main Study)

Appendix 13: Teacher’s Semi-Structured Interview Questions (Pilot Study)

Appendix 14: Teacher’s Semi-Structured Interview Questions (Main Study)

Appendix 15: A Manual for Training EFL Teachers on the LTM

Appendix 16: A Guideline for the Implementation of the LTM in the EFL Classrooms

Appendix 17: Raw Data of Each Component of Paragraph Writing Pre-Post- Test Results of Experimental Group (Pilot Study)

Appendix 18: Composite Raw Data of Paragraph Writing Pre-Post-Test Scores of the Experimental and Control Groups from the Highest to the Lowest (Pilot Study)

Appendix 19: Raw Data of Each Component of Paragraph Writing Pre-Post‑ Test Results of the Experimental Group (Main Study)

Appendix 20: Composite Raw Data of Paragraph Writing Pre-Post-Test Scores of Experimental and Control Groups from the Highest to the Lowest (Main Study)

Appendix 21: A LTM Lesson Plan of the Experimental Group

Appendix 22: A Lesson Plan Format for the Control Group at Yekatit 12 Preparatory School-

Appendix 23: Social Skills Pre-Post Raw Data of the Experimental and Control Groups (Pilot Study)

Appendix 24: Control Group Pre-Post-Social Skills Raw Data (Pilot Study)

Appendix 25: Raw Classroom Observation Data of the Control and Experimental Groups (Pilot Study)

Appendix 26: Raw Classroom Observation Data of the Control and Experimental Groups (Main Study)

Appendix 27: Correlations of Paragraph Writing Pre‑Post-tests and Social Skills Results of Both Groups

Appendix 28: A Transcript of the LTM lesson of Unit

Appendix 29: A Classroom Observation Schedule for the Pilot Study-

Appendix 30: A Classroom Observation Schedule for the Main Study

List of Abbreviations

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

CHAPTER ONE

Introduction to the Chapter

The English language is the language of diplomacy, aviation, entertainment, business, tourism, education, computer technology, media and internet (Crystal, 1997).This language, with regard to Johnson and Johnson (1989), and Vygotsky (1978), has been taught better at different levels of schoolsthrougha LTM (learning together method)which enablesstudentsto increase their cognitive, motivational and social skills.

After an active learning strategy has been practiced, a traditional learning method (TLM) is changed to the LTM or one-to-five learning method (OFLM) (Abiy, 2015). In the LTM, Johnson, Johnson and Smith (1991) stated that team work skills are emphasized; members are taught collaborative skills and expected to use them; structuring of the procedures and time for processing are focused; leadership is shared by all members; structuring of the procedures and time for processing is focused; teachers are facilitators, observers, change agents, advisers and supporters; group as well as individual accomplishments are rewarded and group processing is emphasized.

However, in the TLM, Johnson, Johnson and Smith (1991) showed that practicing drills without team work in whichteachers are controllers and authorities is focused. Team members in this method compete with each other and withhold information with the motto that resembles “If you succeed, I will lose”. So, only individual accomplishments are rewardedand no processing of how well the groups is functioning or how to improvethe quality of the work together (See also table 2.1).

The philosophy behind the LTM, according to Kagan (2007), is to ensure that students, when working in groups, have equal participation and are individually accountable for their own learning. The LTM provides the students with structures to work efficiently as part of a team and avoids the common pitfalls associated with the method. The purposes of the LTM are, therefore, to encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning and to enhance their awareness of social interaction skills during learning.

Abiy (2015), and Betegiorgis and Abiy(2015) disclosed that currently Ethiopian schools of different levels have used a fixed ‘one-to five’ group method because the method allows students to work together in small peer groups whereby group members have specific roles and responsibilities to practice group-based activities. The researcher, therefore, implement-ed this current method in the English language teaching-learning process in relation to paragraph writing and social skill developments of eleventh graders. The implementation has been mandatory because the preliminary investigation (See 1.2) indicated that teachers in the preparatory school did not employ the LTM effectively; that is, they did not meet the requirements of the LTM as expected.

As in chapter one, a brief explanation of background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study and significance of the study are presented. In addition, the chapter deals with the scope of the study, limitations of the study and definitions of key terms.

1.1. Background to the Chapter

The TLM has dominated students in English as a foreign language (EFL) or English as a second language (ESL) classes.To alleviate the domination of this method, the LTM has been suggested to be used in EFL classes. If this methodis recognised as a pedagogical practice, it can promote learning, higher level of thinking, and social behaviour in students from pre-school to college (Gillies, 2004).Shachar (2003)alsocalled theLTM the cornerstone of arange of instructional methods.

Johnson, Johnson, and Stanne (2000) emphasized the significance of making use of the LTM in EFL or ESL classesas it is clearly based on theory which is validated by research and operationalized on the basis of procedures that educators use. Moreover, Bohlmeyer and Knight (1990) described that students who learn with the LTM could share ideas, help each other with answers to questions, make sure that all members involve and understand team answers and ask for help from each other before asking the teacher to produce a single team product.

Krashen and Terrell (1983) explained that input from the LTM is likely to be comprehensible and contributes to second language (SL) or foreign language (FL) acquisition as team members’ language levels may roughly be equal when they do tasks given by teachers. Nevertheless, Vygotsky (1978)said thatif the input is beyond the students’ understanding, there is always a better person who can offer help to the students who are in a problem(s). Favouring theideas, Bruner (1978) argued that students should be given scaffolding by their teachers to help them solve tasks that they would not be able to solve working on their own. Bruner clarifiedthe scaffold as a form of “vicarious consciousness” in which students are taken beyond themselves through participation in the consciousness of the teacher.

Despite the relevance of the LTM, Richards and Schmidt (2002) emphasized the deleterious impact of iton the students’ exposure to fossilization, i.e. incorrect linguistic features which become a permanent part of the way students speak or write a language. As a solution to the problem of fossilization, Santiago (2010) suggested that the teacher’s role to guide and give corrective feedback, and a relaxed atmosphere in the classroom are practicedto prevent or at least minimise the negative effects of the method.

Though the LTM has positive effects on students’ achievements in terms of writing and social skills, there is a controversy about why and how it affects achievements (Li and Lam, 2005). Concerning this, Slavin (1990) identified social interdependence, motivational and cognitive theories as major theoretical perspectives of the LTM to affect achievements.

As to Johnson and Johnson (1994), social interdependence theory determines the way for students to interact with each other to achieve common goals. Deutsch (1949) divided social interdependence into two types: positive (cooperative) and negative (competitive). Positive interdependence exists when individuals perceive that they can reach their goals if and only if other individuals with whom they are cooperatively linked also reach their goals; therefore, they promote each other’s efforts to achieve the goals. On the other hand, negative interdependence happens when individuals perceive that they can obtain their goals if and only if other individuals with whom they are competitively linked fail to obtain their goals. Hence, theyobstruct each other’s efforts to achieve those goals. No interdependence results in a situation in which individuals perceive that they can reach their goal regardless of whether or not other individuals in the situation attain their goals. Johnson, Johnson and Holubec (1993) also argued that when the LTMis implemented in line with what the literature says (See also 2.3), cooperation results in promotive interaction as team members motivate one another’s efforts to learn. In this study, the positive interdependence, i.e. cooperationupon which the LTM is based is utilized.

The social interdependence theory is similar to motivational perspective in that it emphasizes primarily motivational rather than cognitive explanations for the instructional effectiveness. However, the motivational learning perspective focuses on the impact of team rewards on learning. Therefore, to meet personal goals, group members motivate their group mates to exert maximum efforts on their learning (Slavin, 1983). When students are motivated to help one another in the process of learning, a stage for cognitive development is created. The LTM, which is based on social interdependence in the process of learning, enables students to operate within one another’s zone of proximal development (ZPD) (Vygotsky, 1978).

Positive interdependence could help students learn the writing skills which are communicative skills to convey their thoughts and feelings better (Grabe and Kaplan, 1996). Moreover, it is successfully structured when group members perceive that they are linked with each other in a way that one can’t succeed unless everyone succeeds. Group goals and tasks, therefore, must be designed and communicated to students in ways that make them believe they sink or swim together (Johnson, Johnson and Holubec, 1993). According to Johnson, Johnson, and Holubec, when positive interdependence is solidly structured, it highlights that (a) each group member’s effortsare required and indispensable for group success and (b) each group member has a unique contribution to make to the joint effort because of his/her resources and/or roles and task responsibilities. Doing so creates commitment to the success of group members as well as one’s own,anditis, therefore, the heart of the LTM.

Legenhausen and Wolff (1990) suggested students who are taught writing skills through the LTM can promote writing and social skills. Gömleksiz (1993) also said that students who learn writing and social skills through the LTMdevelop a positive image both for themselves and their peers, and improve problem solving and critical thinking skills. The ideas mentioned by Legenhausen and Wolff, and Gömleksiz were supported by a research conducted by High and Kagan (2002) at Catalina Ventura School in Phoenix. The finding of the research showed that a high percentage of the school’s eight graders who learned writing through the LTM showed improvements in writing which is from 49% to 82% in their mastery level after the implementation of the method. In this study, therefore, the researcher focused on the effects that the LTM brought about on the experimental group participants after it had been implemented.

1.2. Statement of the Problems

Long and Porter (1985) as quoted in Berhanu (2000) argued that one of the main reasons for students’ low English language achievement is that a teacher sets the same instructional pace and content for everyone by lecturing, explaining a grammatical point, leading drill work, or asking the whole class oral questions. So, the TLM (See also 2.5) limits the quality of talks students engage in. Moreover, Chekering and Gamson (1987) as cited in Bonewell (2000)saidthat learning is not a spectator sport, i.e. students do not learn much just by sitting in class, listening to teachers, memorizing pre-packaged assignments and talking out answers. In contrast to this, when they actively involved in their groups, they talk about what they are learning, write about it, relate it to past experiences, and apply it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of themselves. To this end, Peter and Daniel (2002) stressed the significance of teaching students through the LTM, which is also, according to Abiy (2015), called OFLM).

Meyers and Jones (1993) explained that the LTMcould provide students with opportunities for meaningfully talk and listen, write, read, and reflect on the content, ideas, issues, and concerns of an academic subject since the method, with regard to Johnson and Johnson (1978) as cited in Kirk (2005), is based on positive interdependence, face-to-face interaction, individual and group accountability, social skills and group processing. It has also some other qualities which make cooperation proceed and work well (See also 2.5).

For the success of any LTM, Johnson, Johnson and Holubec (1993) and Johnson and Johnson (1990) argued that the five essential elements of the LTM, which have been stated above, have to be included in each lesson. The writers remarked that when all the elements are appropriately implemented in the teaching-learning process, the outcome is learning together. Thus, when the LTM is implemented, the experimental group participants’ skills in composing narrative, expository, descriptive and argumentative paragraphs in terms of content, vocabulary, grammar and mechanics, and their social skills, i.e. communication, leadership, group management and conflict resolution might be improved better.

Recent studies in the field of language teaching emphasize the importance of the learning process and the central role of the students (Leila, 2010). The learning process and the central role of the students could be realized when students are able to engage in the LTM in Ethiopian schools (Abiy, 2015).Therefore,Stevahn and King (2005) argued that by using the LTM, students learn better and develop a greater understanding of others with diverse social, interpersonal, and learning needs

Despite the benefits of the LTM stated above, implementing it has been a challenge that many teachers find it difficult to accomplish (Cohen, 1994). A case in point in Ethiopia occurs because teachers do not often have a clear understanding about how to establish effective LTM, the research and theoretical perspectives that have informed this method, and how they can translate this information into practical classroom applications (Abiy, 2015).

Ambaye (1999) found that many teachers in Ethiopia lack the critical determinations of effective teaching; that is, they lack the pedagogical content knowledge and motivation although they are in the front line of education reform programmes. Ambaye further explained that teachers in the current training institutes of Ethiopia predominantly use traditional teaching methods that they are familiar to them perhaps even the ones that they themselves experienced when they were students at schools.

In support of Ambaye’s ideas, Marshal (1990) as cited in ICDR (1999) raised educational problems in Ethiopia by saying that teachers use only a small number of methods, typically teachers’ talk, question and answer and textbook assignments. The problems raised by Ambayehave also been heard when students complained about the LTM. They said that they are organized to use the method since the beginning of the academic year. Though this is a good initiation, the method is not always implemented in the teaching-learning process. Instead, the teachers ordered the students to use the method mainly for assignment purpose. The assignments that are supposed to be treated cooperatively through the method are most of the time done by better students and the rest members put their names on the paper.

Richards and Rodgers (2001) contended that TLM that does not focus on the learning process and the central role of the students foster competition rather than cooperation. In the TLM, Cuban (1983) argued that 70% of the time is being talked by the teacher while the students are sitting and listening to their teachers passively without talking or engaging with their classmates. This might, according to Rutherford and Stuart (1978), result in students’ attention decrease as lectures progress.

Different foreign and local researchers carried out studies in relation to the effects of implementing the LTM on EFL paragraph writing and social skills. Booysen and Grosser (2008) conducted a research to determine the possible association of the LTM for enhancing the social skills of grade 2 students in South Africa. The findings obtained from a mixed research method revealed the potential of the LTM to enhance the social skills of the students.

Kitchakarn (2012) investigated the impact of the LTM on students’ writing skills at Bangkok University, Klong Luang Pathumthani, Thailand. The objectives of the study were to determine how the LTM affected the writing abilities of 35 students who took EN 111 course and to investigate their attitudes towards this method. The study was one-group pre-post-test design. The instruments employed were in class exercises, writing tests and a questionnaire. The pre-post-test scores were compared using a dependent samples t-test measure, and the data collected from the questionnaire were calculated for descriptive statistics. The study revealed that the students’ post-test score was higher than their pre-test scores at .05 alpha level of significance. The results of the questionnaire also illustrated very favourable attitudes towards this teaching method as a whole. The results of the investigation were positive. However, as the researcher used a one group pre-post-test research design, the findings might lack external validity. It might have been better if the researcher had used pre-post-tests of group design to compare and contrast the mean scores of the control and experimental groups.

Najar (2012) conducted a study on teaching writing skills via the LTM at Princess Alia University College. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of the method on second year students' achievement in writing. To achieve the purpose of the study, pre-post-tests were constructed to measure students' achievements in writing in English language. The sample of this study consisted of 119 second year students during the second semester of the academic year 2011/2012. The subjects of the study were distributed into two groups (experimental and control groups). The experimental group was taught writing using the LTM while the control group was taught essay writing using TLM. The subjects were 60 students for the experimental group and 59 students for the control group. Descriptive statistical analyses were used for the pre-post-tests of the students. Comparison statistical methods (Two Way ANOVA) were used to make a comparison between the control and the experimental groups. The findings of the study indicated that there were statistically significant differences in the post-test between the control and the experimental groups in favour of the experimental group who was taught through the LTM.

Ismail and Maasum (2009) investigated the effects of the LTM in enhancing writing Performance of form one students at urban school in Malaysia. The research instruments used were the pre-post-tests. The data were analysed through descriptive and inferential statistics. The students’ writing performance was evaluated using analytical scoring on the composite scores and the five components of writing: content, vocabulary, organization, grammatical accuracy and mechanics. The finding indicated that the students performed better in the post-test as compared to the pre-test after the inclusion of the LTM in the writing classes. The finding lent credence to the positive effects of the LTM in enhancing writing performance. Though the finding was positive, the research did not show the number of subjects and the employment of an observation checklist during the study.

A few studies have also been carried out to assess or examine the effects of the LTM on different skills in EFL classrooms in Ethiopia. This might be an indicator that the researchers have been aware of the relevance of this method in triggering students’ achievements in learning English language and improving social skills. Their works are reviewed as follows.

Seid (2012) conducted a study on the effects of the LTM on EFL reading comprehension achievement and social skills of tenth graders. The purpose of this research was to investigate the effects of the LTM on general secondary school students’ reading comprehension achievement and social skills performance. The pre-post-tests of comparison group design was employed for the research. The sample population was from two sections of grade 10 students at Baso General Secondary School in North Shoa, Ethiopia. There were in total 104 students (52 in the experimental and 52 in the control group) who participated in the study in the second semester of the 2011 academic year. While the LTM was used in the experi-mental group, TLM was used in the control group to teach six reading comprehension lessons from grade 10 English textbook for a period of twelve weeks. Data were collected through reading comprehension tests, social skills questionnaire, classroom observations, focus group interview and semi-structured interview. Independent and paired samples t-tests were utilized to determine whether or not there were statistically significant inter- and intra-group differences on achievements in reading comprehension and social skills at 0.05 alpha level. The analyses revealed that both the experimental and control groups were almost equal in reading comprehension and social skills at the beginning of the experiment. Nevertheless, after the treatment, the analyses of the data indicated that the experimental group outscored significantly (p<.05) the control group on reading comprehension post-test and the social skills post-questionnaire also showed the supremacy of the LTM over the TLM. Therefore, the major findings of the study indicated that the LTM helped significantly enhance the general secondary school students’ reading comprehension and social skills in EFL classrooms.

Mohammed (2009) also researched on the structures of group work writing activities in grade eleven English textbook. The main objective of the study was to analyse the extent to which pair and group work writing activities in grade eleven English textbook were structured well in a way that they could promote the LTM. He gathered data through textbook analyses, classroom observations, interviews and focus group discussions. His findings reveal that the elements of the LTM (See 2.6) were limited to the pre-writing activities and there were no clear and specific procedures which encouraged and guided the students to work cooperativelyin the pair and group work writing activities.

As to the knowledge of the researcher, the foreign researchers seem not to deem the effects of the LTM on both dependent variables, i.e. writing and social skills in EFL/ESL classes concurrently. There also seem to be few local researchers who have used the LTM as methodological panaceas to minimize the students’ problems in writing and social skills. Bennett (1994) as cited in Jolliffe (2005) pointed outthat although the LTM has a respectable theoretical pedigree, the effectiveness of which ought to be backed up by the systematic research: very few studies have considered how best to put it into practice in classrooms.Thus, the present researcher studied the implementation of the LTM systematically to see its effects on eleventh graders’ paragraph writing and social skills.

This researcher carried out a preliminary investigation in order to check whether or not the problems raised above were present. During the investigation, the researcher inspected as to how eleventh graders composed the paragraphs in their exercise books. One of the types of paragraphs examined was an argumentative paragraph entitled “Modern versus Traditional Medicine” (See Appendix 1). Their exercise books indicated that most of the students did not compose the paragraph properly in terms of content, vocabulary, grammar and mechanics. One of the causes of this problem might be the students were not taught paragraph writing through the LTM which was based on what the literature said. The students were also ordered to use the LTM and write different paragraphs (See Appendix 2). Though this was a good initiation, its implementation was not effective. Furthermore, the researcher was observing while they were writing paragraphs. The results of the observations are expressed in the next section.

Having revised the types of paragraph for about three minutes, the teacher ordered the students to make use of the LTM to write paragraphs on different issues (See Appendix 2). Though the teacher ordered them to make groups in line with the already established OFLM, the students did not mind sitting with members of their groups. They rather formed groupsas they liked. The teacher could not monitor this before she started teaching. She did not teach her students what the aim of the LTM was in advance. The composition of the students in the first group was five females and three males; the second group consisted of six females. The third group comprised three females and three males. The number of the students in the fourth group was four males and four females. The fifth and sixth groups had eight females and seven females, respectively. The total number of the students who were involved in the baseline study was forty-four.

The observations showed that the subject teacher was not aware of the basic essences of theLTM that had been found in the literature (See 2.3, 2.4, 2.5 and 2.6). She did not brief her students about the method in advance. Then, the teacher made her students commence to write different types of paragraphs (See Appendix 2). While writing, most of them were discussing in their mother tongues and did not use communication, leadership, group management and conflict resolution skills (See Appendix 10). Moreover, the students rarely called their teacher for support. Towards the end of their work, members in each group submitted papers on which their names were written without evaluating how well they had achieved their goals and maintained effective social skills among themselves. The results of the paragraphs were calculated with SPSS version 20 and are presented in the table given below.

Table 1.1. One Sample T-Test Results of the Students’ Paragraph Writing (No=44)

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The researcher marked each group’s paper out of 16 points in which content, vocabulary, grammar and mechanics were considered and each component was given 4 marks. The mean scores are 1.46, 1.68, 1.50 and 1.68 which are below average (2 points). The p-values of each component (.000)disclose that there are statistically significant differences between the mean scores of the expected and the present at 0.05 alpha level. These results show that the students’ abilities in composing paragraphs before and after the baseline study were similar.

Moreover, the researcher observed that most students did not pay attention to what they had been ordered to do in groups. Some were observed while sitting idle and others were dependent on clever students. So, the results also show that the students were not practicing communication, leadership, group management and conflict resolution social skills(See Appendix 10)while writing paragraphs on different issues via the LTM (See Appendix 2).

To improve the existing instructional method, i.e. TheLTM which was not implemented in EFL classrooms in line with what the literature says (See 2.3, 2.4, 2.5 and 2.6), this researcher established an appropriate implementation of the same method based on the literature that it provided the experimental group participants with maximum opportunities for meaningful input and output in highly interactive and supportive classrooms when they were taught paragraph writing activities found in the textbook.

Thus, the present researcher is in support of the view that an appropriate implementation of the LTM based on the literature (See 2.3, 2.4, 2.5 and 2.6) may promote the students’ paragraph writing and social skills at preparatory level. The literature, according to Johnson and Johnson (1987) also indicated that cooperative, competitive and individualistic learning methods are important and should be used, but the dominant goal structure in any class should be the LTM which is practised through cooperation because competitive and individualistic learning are primarily effective when they are used within a context of cooperation (See 2.5).

Contrary to the ideas given above, Freeman (2000) claimed that schools have not done enough to prepare students to learn through the LTM. Often times, the students are conditioned to compete with others and view others as enemies who obstruct their own success. Other pupils’ failure increases one’s own chances of success. In the LTM, the students can exercise their collective skills and practice working with others to achieve mutual benefits for everyone rather than thinking competitively and individualistically.

Furthermore, Johnson and Johnson (1990) said that students do not know instinctively how to interact effectively with others. Nor do interpersonal and team skills magically appear when they are needed. Therefore, students should be motivated to learn the following social skills: leading and following, controlling temper, arguing peacefully, being less selfish, respecting and showing considerations for others, interacting and cooperating with others, being responsible and friendship with others, handling conflicts, keeping gender, race and cultural equality and listening to others properly (Denham, et al, 2004; McNaughton and Williams, 2004). In this study, despite the importance of the social skills stated above, the researcher has limited the skills to communication, leadership, group management and conflict resolution for management purpose. Besides, these skills are expected of the LTM organised in schools in Ethiopia.

1.3. Hypotheses of the Study

Based on the research objectives, the following null hypotheses were devised:

Ho1: There is no significant difference between the mean scores of the experimental and control groups on paragraph writing post-test in terms of content, vocabulary, grammar and mechanics.

Ha2: There is significant difference between the mean scores of the experimental and control groups on paragraph writing post-test in terms of content, vocabulary, grammar and mechanics.

Ho3: There is no significant difference between the mean scores of the experimental and control groups on social skills post-questionnaire with regard to communication, leadership, group management and conflict resolution.

Ha4: There is significant difference between the mean scores of the experimental and control groups on social skills post-questionnaire with regard to communication, leadership, group management and conflict resolution.

1.4. Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this research were to examine whether or not an appropriate implementation of the LTM in line with the literature could improve the experimental group participants’:

1. Paragraph writing skills in terms of content, vocabulary, grammar and mechanics.
2. Social skills, i.e. communication, leadership, group management and conflict resolution.

1.5. Significance of the Study

This research has the following significance:

1. Teachers get some insights about the benefits of employing the LTM in EFL classes to teach writing or other skills better;
2. Students who come from different English language background cooperate one another not only in EFL classrooms but also in their daily lives;
3. Students understand issues related to the LTM which has impact on their writing and social skills achievements;
4. Policy and other educational decision making authorities found at different levels devise feasible policies that promote appropriate implementation of the LTM, and
5. Interested researchers get some inspirations in studying further the same or related topics.

1.6. Scope of the Study

This quasi-experimental research, which was used to study the effects of an appropriate implementation of the LTM based on the literature on EFL paragraph writing and social skills, was restricted to one preparatory school and one grade level, i.e. grade eleven at Yekatit 12 Preparatory School in Addis Ababa.

Of the 6 EFL teachers teaching 18 sections, only 2 were randomly selected using lot for the pilot and the main studies. The selected teachers taught 4 classes, i.e. one covered 11[4] and 11[5], and the other taught 11[8] and 11[9] for the pilot and the main studies, respectively. The reason to choose four sections was that the selected sections may represent toother sections at different preparatory schools that have similar situations. Concerning this, Sidhu (1984) suggested that students are similar in many aspects and a study on some of them could throw significant light upon the whole students.In addition, the study focused on investigating the effects of implementing the LTM only on two dependent variables, i.e. paragraph writing and social skills. Other macro and micro skills, i.e. reading, speaking, vocabulary and grammar are not included in this quasi-experimental study as they might be unmanageable to be examined simultaneously.

1.7. Limitations of the Study

The findings of this research indicate the positive effects of implementing the LTM on eleventh graders’ paragraph writing and social skills. Before generalizing the findings to the whole population, some of the limitations should be addressed to make potential researchers fill the gap. Creswell (2012) stated that the limitations of the study are useful to other potential researchers who may choose to conduct a similar or replicative study. This implies that researchers should show the limitations of the study they observe to enable others to consider the shortcomings. The observed limitations of this study are stated as follows.

The first limitation is that the degree to which the results of the study could be generalized to other preparatory schools. It was only one preparatory school that was opted for this study and the participants were also selected from two grade eleven sections in the selected preparatory school. If so, the applicability of the LTM to other preparatory schools in the country might be impudent to probe those students who are struggling with writing and social skills problems.

This study was limited to its sample size. It was carried out only on 78 research participants and 1 teacher for the main study and getting back the questionnaire items and tests administered from the students on time was difficult. It was also noticed that the subject teacher ignored the class due to his own reasons. As a result, the time allotted for observation sessions needed to be extended. This resulted in delay of conducting the interview and analyzing the whole raw data according to the schedule set earlier.

Some responses given to the open-ended items were written with scribbled hand writing and consisted of some deletions and vaguely written words and sentences that the researcher could not easily figure out what they were meant to. In addition, as the study is a quasi-experimental research design, it was challenging for the researcher to control all the extraneous variables that caused threats to internal validity during the intervention.Thus, this study would have been more comprehensive and reliable had it overcome the listed limitations.

1.8. Definitions of Key Terms

Cooperative learning (CL): It is a student-centered, instructor-facilitated instructional stra-tegy in which a small group of students is responsible for its own learning and the learning of all group members. Students interact with each other in the same group to acquire and practice the elements of a subject matter in order to solve a problem, complete a task or achieve a common goal.

Effects: In this study effects refer to changes occurring as implementing the learning together method on paragraph writing and social skills.

Learning Together Method (LTM) or One-to-Five Learning Method (OFLM): It is a type of cooperative learning or peer-collaboration method which engages students in working five heterogeneous member groups on a given task to accomplish mutual learning goals. Teammates work on academic and social tasks that involve them preparing a single team product to which all contribute and receive praise or rewards based on the group product. This method emphasizes team-building activities before students begin working together. It also includes the elements of theLTM.

Paragraph writing skill: It is defined in the context of this research as the participants’ skills to write narrative, expository, descriptive and argumentative paragraphs in terms of content, vocabulary, grammar and mechanics that are targeted in the textbook during the period of interventions.

Social Skills: They are defined as interpersonal and small group skills such as communication, leadership, group management and conflict resolution which students require while learning together on paragraph writing tasks.

Traditional Learning Method (TLM): It is the method that does not provide students with opportunities for meaningfully talk, listen, write, read, and reflect on the content, ideas, issues, and concerns of an academic subject. In other words, the students passively receive information from the teachers whouse only a small number of methods, typically teachers’ talk, question and answer and text book assignments. In the TLM, most class time is spent with the teacher teaching and the students watching and listening. The students work individually and competitively and cooperation is very limited.

CHAPTER TWO A Review of Related Literature

Introduction

In chapter two, a brief review of the literature related to an overview of learning together method (LTM), the definitions of LTM, rationales for using LTM, drawbacks of LTM, LTM versus competitive and individualistic learning was discussed. Moreover, LTM versus traditional learning method (TLM), elements of LTM, group composition and the history of teaching writing were mentioned. The chapter also dealt with the nature of writing in an EFL context, LTM and writing andteacher’s training on LTM. Finally, this chapter discussed the theoretical perspectives of the study.

2.1. Historical Background of the LTM

The concept of peer learning, according to Pappas (2003), was described as early as the first century by Marcus Fabius Quintilian, who stressed that students could benefit from teaching one another. The idea of peer learning was also described in the Talmud which promoted LTM, i.e. each reader needed a partner for the purpose of promoting understanding of the Talmud (Chiu, 2000; Zeitlin, 1955).

The Roman philosopher, Seneca advocated LTM through such statements as, "Qui Docet Discet" (when you teach, you learn twice) (Johnson and Johnson, 1989). In a similar way, John Amos Comenius (1592-1670), a writer of political unity, religious reconciliation and educational cooperation in the 17th century argued that students would benefit both by teaching and being taught by other students (Johnson, Johnson and Smith, 1991).

In the late 17th century, Joseph Lancaster and Andrew Bell opened schools in England touse peer learning groups extensively. They also established a Lancastrian school in New York City in 1806. The development of these schools appeared to have marked a milestone for peer learning (Johnson and Johnson, 1989). The main purpose of establishing the Lancastrian School in New York was to promote American socialization since students were from diverse backgrounds (Marr, 1997).

LTM was emphasized in the early 19th century in the United States during the Common School Movement (Johnson, Johnson and Smith, 1991). In the last three decades of the 19th century, Colonel Francis Parker, a school superintendent in Massachusetts, was a promoter of LTM. The reason that made him promote LTM is that he felt it was directly related to democracy when students shared responsibilities for learning. Parker did not believe that competition in the schools was effective rather he thought that shared learning was essential, i.e. his method involved students working cooperatively (Marr, 1997).

His fame and success rested on his capability to create classroom atmosphere that was truly cooperative and democratic. His advocacy of cooperation among students dominated American education system. Following Parker, John Dewy promoted the use of LTM as part of his famous project method in instruction. In the late 1930s, however, interpersonal competition began to be emphasised in schools and in the late 1960s, individualistic learning began to be used extensively. However, in the 1980s, schools once again began to use LTM (Johnson and Johnson, 1989).

As in the explanations given above, LTM enabled the students to teach and to be taught by their teammates and practice socialization, i.e. students who come from different families with different backgrounds learn social skills, i.e. how to communicate, lead, manage groups and solve conflicts among themselves while conducting different activities in their classrooms. The students also exercise democracy as they are free to forward what they feel to their team members while learning. Thus, the researcher was interested in examining whether or not the said social skills were practised during the time the experimental group participants were taught paragraph writing skills through the LTM in their EFL class.

2.2. Definitions of the LTM

As to the definition of the LTM,Dutsch has the following to say:

Cooperation is working together to accomplish shared goals and LTM is the instructional use of small groups so that students work together to maximize their own and one another’s learning. Within LTM, students are given two responsibilities: to learn the assigned material and to make sure that all other members of the group do likewise. Thus, a student seeks an outcome that is beneficial to him/her and beneficial to all other group members. Dutsch (1962) in Brubacher, et al (1990: 69)

Moreover, Argyle (1991) as quoted in McConnell (1994:12) defined LTM by saying, “It is acting together in a coordinated way at work or in social relationships, in the pursuit of shared goals, the enjoyment of joint activity, or simply furthering the relationships.”

The intent of the definitions given above is that learning together is a method in which students with different levels of abilities, attitudes, and backgrounds are active agents in the process of learning through small group structures so that they help each other maximize their own and understanding of a subject. In this study, the researcher studied if the implementation of the independent variable deemphasized competitive and individualistic learning rather than cooperation which encourages the experimental group research participants to work together and become successful in composing different paragraphs and exercising social skills as a team in their class.

2.3. Rationales for Using the LTM in the EFL Classroom

To build up the teaching learning process in general, there seems to be an increasing consensus in pedagogy worldwide about the need to shift from a teacher-centred method of teaching (where the teacher does all the talking with students remaining passive) to a student-centred method (with students actively involved in the learning process) (Nagata & Ronkowski, 1998).

Creemers (1994) and Moffet (1996) added that the student-centred method enables students from a pluralistic society to overcome their prejudices against others from different backgrounds such as culture, learning style, religion, etc. In other words, the student-centred method provides students with opportunities to enhance inter-ethnic relations and learn to appreciate differences as their focus of attention is getting immersed when they learn writing or other skills with this method in EFL/ESL classrooms.

Slavin (1991), and Stahl and VanSickle (1992) argued that students found in very diverse school settings and taught a wide range of content areas reveal higher academic test scores, higher self-esteem and positive social skills after completing the tasks treated through the LTM. Reticent students also get an opportunity to make new friends and familiarize different activities more easily through this method. Stenlev (2003) pointed out the positive effect of the LTM by saying that it is a democratic form of learning, i.e. every single student is required in many different contexts to adopt an attitude and explain his or her own point of view. Stenlev further explained that students learn social skills like to listen to and respect each other, and every one can feel that they are at the centre at the same time. So, according to her, it is an excellent way of conducting communicative language teaching (CLT).

Though the LTM which has, as stated by the authors mentioned above, positive effects on the teaching learning process, it could be applied to all language skills (Elbow, 2000; Howard, 2000; Stewart, 1988 & Webb, 1998). They focused on the rationales of incorporate-ing it into writing skills. They explained that the method:

1. Forces the writer to put tacit decisions about his/her writing process into words.
2. Allows students to learn from each other as confident students will model successful writing practices for struggling students.
3. Allows students to work on complex projects which may otherwise be too large in scope for an individual author to tackle over the course of the semester.
4. Fosters relationships among a community of writers as it takes away the loneliness of the writing act.
5. Focuses on the generation of many possible points of views/solutions to a problem, which ultimately leads to more complex conclusions.

Thus, to make students users of this method, attention should be given to what they can do to initiate and manage their own learning through cooperation. This is more feasible, according to Ingleton, et al (2000), when teachers organize the groups instead of allowing the students to self-select. In spite of the positive effects of the method in EFL/ESL classes, it has some drawbacks as discussed in the next section.

2.4. LTM versus Competitive and Individualistic Learning

Students’ learning goals can be structured to promote cooperative, competitive or individualistic efforts. Competitive learning situations are ones in which students work against one another to achieve a goal that only one or a few can attain, whereas in individualistic learning situations, the students work alone to accomplish goals unrelated to classmates, i.e. the students’ goal achievements are independent. The result is to focus on self-interest and personal success, and ignore as irrelevant the successes and failures of others (Ames and Ames, 1985; Burden and Williams, 1997).

In contrast to individualistic and competitive learning situations raised above, Johnson and Johnson (1987) explained that cooperative, competitive and individualistic learning methods are important and should be used, but the dominant goal structure in any class should be cooperative because competitive and individualistic learning are primarily effective when they are used within a context of cooperation.

Thus, cooperation which can be created by structuring positive interdependence among learners leads to outcomes. Brubacher, et.al (1990: 72) described, “Higher achievement, more positive relationship among individuals, greater social support, and higher self-esteem are the outcomes that seem more important than the many outcomes affected by cooperative efforts.” The listed outcomes are also illustrated in the figure given in the next section.

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Fig 1. Outcomes of the LTM (adapted from Brubacher, et.al, 1990:72)

To put in a nutshell, students who are beneficiaries of the illustrated social skills in an EFL/ESL class help one another during the process of drafting, planning, translating, and reviewing the writing tasks together, i.e. they can monitor and evaluate the tasks cooperatively. In such class activities, team members try to make sure that each member has mastered the assigned task because the teacher randomly asks them to answer for the team. This kind of learning serves to harness competition for further cooperation amongst members of the teams.

2.5. The LTM versus TLM

Though some EFL/ESL teachers might think that they use LTM in their classes, the implementations the method that they expect are not as simple as what the literature says. The secret may lie in the differentiating features between the LTM and the TLM. Some distinguishing features adapted from Johnson, Johnson and Smith (1991) are indicated in table2.1 given in the next section.

Table 2.1 The LTM versus TLM

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2.6. Elements of the LTM

The elements of the LTM are important to make cooperation proceed and work well. For the success of any LTM, Johnson, Johnson and Holubec (1993) argued that the five elements of the LTM should be included in each lesson to make cooperation effective. Johnson and Johnson (1990) also stressed that the five fundamental elements of the LTM are salient to distinguish it from other forms of group learning. They remarked that when all the elements of it, that are stated below, are properly implemented in an EFL/ESL class, the outcome is learning together through cooperation. In addition, Cosio (1998) supported their ideas and suggested that teachers mastering the content knowledge of the discipline they teach should know and practice the main elements of the LTM that lead to success.

Thus, in this study, the basic elements of the LTM were embedded. The researcher employed them as components of the method to see the extent to which they were implemented when the experimental group participants were taught paragraph writing and social skills in the EFL class. The elements are further discussed as follows.

2.6.1. Positive Interdependence

It involves the giving of a clear task and group goal so that students believe that they sink or swim together. It is the building block and the glue that hold the group together. Trivial misbehaviour issues are eliminated if positive interdependence is sufficiently strong (Johnson, Johnson and Holubec, 1993).

It occurs in a group when students realise that it takes all members to achieve a goal (Breedon and Mosley, 1991). As in any team sport, no one player can score without the help of his/her team-mates. Similarly, in a cooperative group, students must believe that each person’s effort is needed. The success of one depends on the success of the other. With regard to this, Jonson and Johnson(2009) clarified the positive interdependence exists when the students perceive that they are linked with group mates in such a way that they cannot succeed unless they must coordinate their efforts with the efforts of their group mates to complete a task. In other words, Kirk (2005) said that there must be the presence of a “one for all and all for one” attitude. This relationship does not happen automatically but must be continually encouraged by the teacher.

2.6.2. Face-To-Face Interaction

It refers to the physical set up of the group. To obtain meaningful face-to-face interaction, the size of the groups needs to be small with two to five members (Johnson and Johnson, 1998). Students need to be clustered in a group, facing each other, in order to have the kind of interchange necessary to accomplish the task. In other words, students are provided with abundant face-to-face interactions where they orally explain how to solve problems, teach one’s knowledge to others, check for understanding, discuss concepts being learned and connect present with past learning (Liang, 2002; Tuan, 2010).

2.6.3. Individual and Group Accountability

It refers to structuring a level of accountability into cooperative lessons. The group is accountable for achieving its goals, and each member must be accountable for contributing a fair share of the work toward the group goal. No one can be dependent on the work of others. The performance of each individual must be assessed and the results given back to the group in order to ascertain who needs more assistance and encouragement in learning (Ames and Ames, 1985; Johnson, Johnson and Holubec, 1993).

2.6.4. Social Skills

Students who have never been taught the prerequisite social skills which encompass communicating, trust building, leadership, conflict resolution, group management, giving and receiving feedback, active listening skills, etc. cannot be expected to work together effectively (Johnson, Johnson and Holubec, 1993). These skills for effective cooperative work do not magically appear when cooperative lessons are employed. Instead, they must be taught to students as purposefully and precisely as academic skills. Schultz (1999) argued that social skills should be explicitly taught to the students so that they could work among themselves, not only in terms of cooperation but also without hostility and without the teacher’s authority. However, Johnson and Johnson (1994) warned that placing socially unskilled students in a group and telling them to cooperate does not guarantee that they have the ability to do so effectively.

Kline and Lerner (2006:539) also added, “We are not born knowing instinctively how to interact effectively with others.” It is, therefore, necessary that social skills must be taught to students. Westwood (2003) and Christson (1994) shared this idea and focused on the need for direct teaching of social skills like leadership, decision-making, trust-building, communication, conflict resolution, group management and other skills. These skills empower the students to manage the LTM which is, according to Johnson and Johnson (1994), inherently more complex than competitive or individualistic learning because the students have to engage simultaneously in task work (learning academic subject matter) and teamwork (functioning effectively as a group). Early teaching of social skills mentioned above may help the students minimize dropping out of schools, poor achievement, delinquency, inattentiveness, peer rejection, aggressive- ness, problems in interpersonal relationships, poor self-concept, academic failures, concentration difficulties and isolation from peers (Christopherson, 2003; Katz and McClellan, 2006).

2.6.5. Group Processing

Group processing exists when group members discuss how well they are achieving their goals and maintaining effective working relationships. Groups need to describe what member actions are helpful and unhelpful and make decisions about what behaviours to continue or change. Continuous improvement in the process of learning results from the careful analyses of how members are working together and determining how group effectiveness can be enhanced. This may take five minutes or a whole lesson; it can happen immediately after the classroom interaction or on their next meeting. Thus, during the group processing, both teacher and students should be equally involved (Burden and Williams, 1997; Johnson and Johnson, 1985).

In general, the effectiveness of the elements of the LTM depends on teachers’knowledge, attitude and practice on these elements in classroom instructions.This is to mean that, if teachers have the necessary knowledge, positive attitude and ifthey effectively implement it in the real teaching and learning process, the goals ofthe LTM are more likely to be achieved. This is again to mean that, unless theessential elements are implemented meaningfullyand properly, teachers should not expect the many positive long-term results ofthe method. In the section given below, group formation and types of LTM are discussed.

2.7. Group Formations

Group formations are of different types: homogeneous, heterogeneous, ability, random and interest groupings (Borich, 2007). According to Bainbridge (2014), homogeneous grouping is the placement of students of similar abilities into one classroom. Although there may be a range of abilities in one classroom, it is more limited than the range found in the heterogeneous classroom. All gifted students within the same grade level will be in the same classroom.

Heterogeneous grouping refers to whole classes of students of varying intellectual abilities or within classroom groupings where 2-5 students of varying abilities learn together. The grouping practice is associated with efforts to eliminate a dumb down curriculum and to allow all students the benefits of access to high-level of instructional practices. Research points to the positive effects of this kind of grouping on achievement, self-esteem, intergroup relations, and greater acceptance of the majority students (Slavin, 1991).

Ability grouping is the placement of students in one classroom into groups based on their ability. The classroom may contain students with a wide range of ability. Students can move in and out of groups as needed. For example, a student may be in the high ability group in reading, but a middle level in maths. If the student improves in maths, he could be moved up to the high ability in maths. In the same way, if the student begins to have problems in reading, he/she could be moved to a lower group. This flexibility of grouping allows the needs of student to be better met (Bainbridge, 2014).

Random grouping is the assignment of students prior to the beginning of class by randomly selecting their names from the class roster. Group sizes can vary according to the nature of the group work to be accomplished and the number of students in the large group (Cagle, 2002). Interest grouping: If students are interested in a topic or subjects, the desire and emotions involved engage them. By addressing what students are interested in, teachers have a link for the new learning. The desire to learn more is there (Chapman and Gregory, 2007).

Though there are different kinds of grouping systems, Borich(2007) advocates hetero-geneous grouping system in EFL/ESL classes where LTM is implemented because the less able students receive instruction from more capable students. Kagan (1990) also argued that heterogeneous grouping is preferred because of its opportunities for peer tutoring and support. It can integrate students with different backgrounds and improve classroom management. Fung and Wilkinson (2003) were in favour of Kagan’s ideas and said that in heterogeneous ability group, peer effects stem directly from group interactions and discourse among students lead to cognitive restructuring, cognitive rehearsal, problem solving and other forms of higher level of thinking.

Thus, it is supposed that the social negotiation of knowledge involves cooperation. So, the extent to which the groupings of students within classes can affect participation rates, particularly participation in cognitive activities. Under conditions of careful monitoring and individual accountability, grouping can improve the performance of each team member. As mentioned in 2.4, teachers had better organize the teams rather than allow students to opt for their team members and plan the heterogeneous team to understand of students who have different skills and capabilities. However, homogeneity can arise when a teacher allows students to choose their own groups and this reduces the acquisition of socialskills. It also increases the possibility of a lack of focus on the learning task.

2.8. Group Types of the LTM

2.8.1. Formal Groups

According to Johnson, Johnson and Holubec (1994), types of LTM groups are of three as discussed in the next section.

It lasts from one class period to several weeks. Students may be working together on projects, creative activities or on a specific content. All members work on different portions to bring together as a whole or they may all work on the same task. Numbers in groups may vary from as low as 2 to 5. In formal CL groups, students are actively involved in the intellectual work, i.e. organizing, explaining, summarizing and integrating material into the existing phenomenon.

2.8.2. Informal Groups

Informal groups last from a few minutes to one class period. It refers to a short meeting, often between pairs, to simply discuss and share information from a lecture, movie, etc. It can be used during direct teaching like lectures and demonstration.

2.8.3. Cooperative Base Groups

Cooperative base groups are long term, lasting for at least a year. Heterogeneous groups with stable membership whose primary purpose is for members to give each other support and encouragement. Cooperative base groups provide students with long-term committed relation- ships. When used in combination, these three types of LTM groups provide an overall structure to classroom life. However, creating and maintaining cooperative groups are not easy.

Arends (2004) as cited in Seid (2012) claimed that the process of getting students into learning teams and getting them started on their work is perhaps one of the most difficult steps for the teachers using LTM. There is nothing more frustrating to teachers than transitional situations in which students are moving into small groups, not sure of what they are to do and each demands the teacher’s attention and help. To be successful in setting up and having students complete group tasks within the framework of LTM, its essential elements should be met. The next section focuses on writing in an EFL/ESL context.

2.9. Drawbacks of the LTM

Though the LTM could not solve all the educational problems, it has been widely accepted and recommended for language teaching and learning (Liang, 2002). It has, like all other teaching methods, limitations as listed below.

1. Crandall (1999) identified its weakness as that of placing too much burden on clever students. She contended that in mixed-ability groups, the result is often that stronger students are left to teach weaker students and do most of the work.

2. Scrivener (1994) argued that in whole class instruction, while interacting with the teacher, students feel that they are taking language from a native speaker or an experienced user of the language. On the contrary, when working with other students whose level is approximately the same, they may not feel that they are making any benefits, as Harmer (2005: 116) put it, "It is always popular with students; many of whom feel they would rather relate to the teacher as individuals than interact with another who may be just as linguistically weak as they are".

3. It is considered to be time-consuming to teach materials in a cooperative way although more students might learn and retain better of the material. This might be true, especially in the beginning when the LTM is new to teachers and students (Kagan, 1995 as cited in Harmer, 2005).

4. Its technique is tended to have been developed more from socialization needs than from achievement needs (Elliott and Turco, 1990). So, low-achievers are liable to be belittled by high-achievers if they have nothing or little to contribute during discussions (Slavin, et al, 1985).

5. It lies in the differences of opinions which may provoke conflicts among group members (Tsai, 1998).

Though the LTM cannot solve all the problems that students face, Chips (1993) suggested that it offers teachers ways to respond to students who represent a wide range of abilities and backgrounds. Therefore, to benefit from this method, teachers should diminish the short comings by considering the basic characteristics of it while implementing it in EFL classes to teach writing and social skills. In the section given below, LTM versus competitive and individualistic learning has been discussed.

2.10. The History of Teaching Writing

As this study focuses on writing as a dependent variable, its history and phases are explained by Raimes (1991) in the section given below.

The teaching of writing has passed through four different stages. The first period was Audiolingualism (19661976). During this period, the focus of the teaching of writing was on form. Learning was taken as habit formations. It was believed that speech was primary and writing was secondary. In other words, writing was taught to support the teaching of speech. The kinds of activities given in the classrooms were completion of blank spaces, word substitution, etc. and the whole attempt was to make speech error free. Thus, writing was not taught to develop it as a skill.

The second period was the composing process (1976 1986). The teaching of language focused on the writers, i.e. what the writers do as they write. In this regard, Raimes stated that teachers have begun to allow to their students’ time and opportunity for selecting topics, generating ideas, writing drafts and revision, and providing feedback. Where linguistic accuracy was formerly emphasized from the start, it is now often downplayed until writers have grappled with ideas and organization.

The third period was the focus on content (1986 1996). The purpose of teaching writing was to help the learners successfully conduct their academic work. Because of this, the contents of other subjects were used for teaching writing. Nevertheless, the emphasis on the writer was not neglected. Instead, both the writer and the content were employed to prepare materials with making use of the contents of other disciplines.

The fourth period was the reader (1996 onwards). As in this period, writing was taught for academic purposes. So, academic readers were the target readers of the writings and the readers were the teachers and the learners’ peers who were expected to be any expert in the academia. Raimes argued that the situation in the teaching of writing was blurring when compared with the situation in the 1960s. In relation to this, Raimes has the following to say.

In our path through the woods of writing, instruction is less clearly defined now in 1991 than it was in 1966. Then, there was one approach, form-dominated, clearly defined, and relatively easy to follow in the classroom. Now teachers have to consider a variety of approaches, their underlying assumptions, and the practices that each philosophy generates. Raimes (1991) as cited in Alamirew (2005: 75)

In general, the aforementioned periods of the teaching of writing reveal that the philosophy of the teaching of a language has changed over the years. Now as explained by Alamirew (2005), it seems that we are at a stage where an eclectic approach is thought to be the strategy in the teaching of various types of learners found in the world.

2.11. Writing in an EFL/ESL Context

Byrne (1991: 1) defined writing as “an act of forming graphic symbols; that is, the arrangement of sounds into words in a conventional form and words on their part are organized together to make sentences”. He further indicated that writing involves the encoding of a message of some kind, i.e. the translation of thoughts into language. This implies that writing is a representation of speech and thought through various forms of sound images or graphs. So, Byrne (1993) suggested that students need to create a text using certain rules and conventions and put their knowledge that they have gathered on paper.

However, in the ESL/EFL context, the teachers’ efforts to produce students who possess the skill of writing seem to be a difficult task. This is because writing skill is considered a complex cognitive skill since it requires the students to apply appropriate cognitive strategies, verbal information and motivation (Tierney, 1989). Due to the complexity of writing for the students’ cognitive capability, approaches are adopted to make teaching writing an effective pedagogical practice (Harmer, 2005). The following approaches can be adopted in teaching writing.

2.11.1. The Product Approach

The product approach to writing advocates the structural linguistics’ view that language is a system of structurally related elements for the encoding of meaning, and a behaviourist view that language learning is basically a process of mechanical habit formation (Richards and Rodgers, 2001). So, most of the time the approach encourages learners to imitate, copy and transform models provided by teachers or textbooks (Siti Khatijah, 2004).

Teachers focus on what a final piece of writing will look like and measure it against criteria of vocabulary use, grammatical use, mechanical considerations, content and organization (Brown, 1994). However, there is no much focus on ideas and meanings (Zamel, 1985). The normal procedure used by teachers is to assign a piece of writing, collect it, and then return it for further revision with the errors either corrected or marked for the student to do the corrections (Raimes 1983). In other words, the teachers examine the finished product focusing more on linguistic accuracy (Mc Donough and Shaw, 1993).

The product approach has received much criticism because it ignores the actual processes used by students, or to produce a piece of writing. Instead, it focuses on imitation and churning out a perfect product even though very few people can create a perfect product on the first draft. Another criticism is that this approach requires constant error correction that affects students’ motivation and self-esteem. The approachdoes not effectively prepare students for the real world or teach them to be the best writers. In addition, Flower and Hayes (1981) argued that the product approach is insufficient in enhancing the student’ writing performance as it focuses on grammar, syntax and mechanics. It also emphasizes accuracy rather than fluency. Nevertheless, the product approach still has some credibility because at some point there will be a final draft that require attention to grammar, spelling, and punctuation (Yan, 2005). Thus, a shift of balance, according to Flower and Hayes (1981), from accuracy to fluency is a characteristic feature of process approach which is discussed below.

2.11.2. The Process Approach

It gives due emphasis on how writers actually do write. Writers are seen as active thinkers who employ strategies to compose texts. The strategies focus on generating, reviewing, evaluating, structuring, and drafting ideas (Arndt and White, 1991).

Writing process is seen as both a cognitive process (Flower and Hayes, 1981) and a socio-cultural activity (Freedman and Headway, 1994). The cognitive model of writing is, on the one hand, seen as a mental process involving decision making and problem solving (Chandrasegaran, 2004). On the other hand, Siti Hamin (2004) stated that the skills in writing are not acquired but culturally transmitted. This is to mean that the students’ writing skills do not come naturally but are cultivated through much practice and conscious effort.

In the process approach, a teacher is no longer the authority figure in a writing class, but acts as a consultant and an assistant in assisting the students to produce coherent, meaningful and a creative piece of writing. The teacher’s role has changed from an evaluator of the written product to a facilitator and co-participant in the process of writing (Arndt and White, 1991). Moreover, the role of the teacher is to provide a learning environment that enables the students to learn about writing, engage in writing and feel enthusiastic about writing (Siti Khatijah, 2004).

Accordingto Seow (2002), the process writing approach consists of the following stages: 1) planning or pre-writing, 2)drafting, and 3) revising. He farther discussed the stages as follows. In the stage of planning or pre-writing, a teacher proposes the writing topic to class, raises motivation, sets up writing purposes, determines audience, discusses the contents with students, screens and orders contents, plans the writing, and outlines it. During this stage, there are many techniques to employ such as brainstorming, discussing, making notes, clustering, and rapid free writing.

The second step is thedrafting (Composing). After the students get enough ideas to produce a piece of writing, they put the idea on thepaper quickly. They still do not need to pay much attention to appropriate language, grammarand spelling. The focus of this stage is on the ideas that the students want to convey to the reader, thepurpose of writing and pattern, and mechanics appropriate to the topic.

Teachers who are trying to implement the process approach to writing instruction are mostly expected to facilitate their students’ learning by giving them ample time to plan, think and discover meaning through their writing. In general, the teachers’ role is to organize and facilitate situations for learners to write continuously and abundantly (Mesfin, 2013). In connection with this, Richards (1988) as cited in Mesfin (2013) further suggested that the teacher is a facilitator of the writing process employed by the students; his/her observation and discussion mechanisms to identify more successful techniques would help students pass through the process more successfully.

The process approach has been criticized because the proponents of the approach often regard all writings as being produced by the same set of processes. This means, they give insufficient importance to the kind of texts writers produce and why such texts are produced. Moreover, they offer learners insufficient input, particularly in terms of linguistic knowledge to write successfully (Kent, 1999). The other major criticism against the process view is that writing is pre-occupied with the writer and the writer’s cognitive process, as a result, it disregards social factors which have strong connection to any written text. Thus, Kent (1999) concluded that the process is in a cultural vacuum because it fails to consider the external factors which are outside the writer. Nonetheless, the process approach is widely accepted and utilized because it allows students to understand the steps involved in writing, and it recognizes that what learners bring to the writing classroom contributes to the development of the writing skill (Badger and White 2000). It is also relevant in assisting the writer to define, shape, and ultimately evaluate a piece of writing (Kent, 1999).

The LTM is more beneficial with process approach in which reviewing and evaluating are positively affected because of the peer response strategy, which means the presence of more than one feedback provider. In addition, the generation of ideas is more active in an interactive atmosphere which stimulates the flow of thoughts.

2.11.3. Genre-Based Approach

It considers writing as a socialand cultural practice. The purpose of this writing involves the context where the writing occurs, andthe conventions of the target discourse community. In this sense, relevant genre knowledge needs tobe taught explicitly in the language classroom (Akhand and Hasan, 2010).

The genre approach to teaching writing, asPaltridge (2004) claimed, emphasizes the teaching of particular genre students need for later social communicative success. The focus would be the language and discourse features of particular texts and the context in which the text is used. The notion of genre is defined as “socially recognized ways of using language” (Hyland,2003: 21). The ways are purposeful communicative activities employed by members of a particular discourse community (Swales, 1990). Genre approach emphasizes more on the reader, and on the conventions that a piece of writing needs to follow in order to be successfully accepted by its readership (Municie, 2002).

The genre approach has been criticized by many for undervaluing the processes needed to produce a text and seeing learners as largely passive (Badger and White 2000). However, Swales (1986) argued that the genre approach succeeds in showing students how different discourses require different structures. In addition, introducing authentic texts enhances student involvement and brings relevance to the writing process.

In general, the approaches mentioned above to the teaching of writing mainly differ in the focuses they put on writing and the ways writing should be taught. For many years it was believed that teaching a language meant making students understand the basic structures and vocabulary of that language. This belief has influenced teachers’ and students’ perceptions on how to teach and learn the writing skills. However, recently an approach to language teaching is changed from form-focused to process (Candlin, 1987).

2.12 The Roles of English Language in Ethiopia

The domination of the English language globally is undeniable. It is the language of diplomacy, seafaring, aviation, entertainment, business, tourism, education, computer technology, media and internet. As it has been used to develop communication, technology, programming, software, etc., it governs the web. In other words, 70% of all information in the world is stored electronically in English. It is, therefore, mandatory for countries to equip their citizens with this language to communicate effectively and fulfil their needs (Crystal, 1997 and Graddol, 1997).

Gebremedhin (1993) and Mendida (2001) stated that since 1940s, i.e. the beginning of modern education in Ethiopia, English has been introduced as a language of instruction and a means of communication. Dejene (1990), Hailemichael (1993) and Meseret (2012) also indicated that apart from being used in educational system, it has played an important role in business, government, international organizations, and collaboration and diplomacy in Ethiopia. It is used as an alternative official language in the civil service sectors like civil aviation, banks, universities and colleges. According to Dejene, Hailemichael and Meseret, the opening of a large number of travel and tourist organizations, international hotels and companies following the privatization policy of the country further necessitated the use of this language for communication.

Dejene, Hailemichael and Meseretfurther explicated that course booksand referencematerials for secondary and tertiary education are written in English. Different English newspapers and magazines, such as The Daily Monitor, The Reporter, The Ethiopian Herald, The Fortune, The Addis Tribune, etc. are published in government and private presses in English. The national radio and TV stations broadcast programmes in English. Most popular articles which include a lot of useful information in different fields are also written in English. Thus, English has been playing crucial roles in the country’s overall development. In the next section, a survey of ELT at different levels of Ethiopian schools is elucidated.

2.13. ELT in the Ethiopian Secondary Schools

In principle, the objective of the secondary school curriculum focuses on enabling students to solve real life problems and become independent and helpful citizens. The design of the curriculum of the secondary schools and the preparation of the national exams lie solely in the hands of the Ministry of Education (MoE) (Derebessa, 1998). Hence, the Ethiopian secondary school curriculum is more centralised and shows that Ethiopia is still following a top down tradition of curriculum design processes.

However, Mekasha (2005) and Sisay (1999) said that students are not able to use English language expediently because of the inadequacy of print materials in English, lack of qualified English language teachers, inappropriate and inefficient teaching methodology, overcrowded classes, lack of sufficient books, and poor teacher training and teaching materials. By considering the problems, the New Education and Training policy (NETP) has changed the old textbooks, i.e. English for New Ethiopia series which gave emphasis on writing and reading to English for Ethiopia into which CLTis incorporated (MoE, 1994). Even though the old English textbooks have been replaced by the new ones, there are still complaints that the English language proficiency of the students is below average (Berhanu, 1999).

The English language in Ethiopia is used for two purposes. It is a medium of instruction at secondary and tertiary levels and it is taught as a subject. So, students need to attain enough mastery of this language to achieve general academic success and to communicate effectively in the work place where the use of English is necessary (MoE, 1996). In the section give below, the first and second cycles of ELT in Ethiopian secondary schools in line with the NETP are discussed.

2.14. ELT in Ethiopian Secondary Schools Based on the NETP

According to NETP, ELT has been offered to secondary school first cycle (grade 9 and 10) students to enable them to identify their interests for further education, i.e. for specific training and for the world of work. General education is completed at the first cycle (grade 10) whereas the second cycle of secondary education helps students choose subjects or areas of training which will prepare them adequately for higher education and the world of work (MoE, 2004). In the next section, an attempt is made to overview writing lessons and activities in the first and second cycles of ELT in secondary school.

2.14.1. First and Second Cycles of ELT in Secondary School

The English language syllabi for grades 9 and 10 endow students with continued practice in macro and micro skills (See 1.6) in order that they may develop their capability of communicating in English (MoE, 2003 E.C).

According to these syllabi, after grade 9 and 10 students have learned the texts, they will be able to:

1. Listen to a variety of text types and speak to identify main ideas, key content words, specific information and relate what they have heard to their own lives.
2. Use a range of structure to ask for information; give reasons for actions; address misconceptions; ask for repetition and clarification, and express sympathy and surprise
3. Express opinions, agreement, disagreement, simple counter argument, cause and effect relations, and future actions decided at the moment of speaking.
4. Describe pictures, people, animals and the location of places; talk about possible and planned future, imaginary situations about themselves and others, and their daily lives.
5. Read a variety of text types and some authentic materials to: predict the content of a text from pre-reading activities, infer meanings of new words, scan to obtain specific information, skim to get the general ideas, etc.
6. Identify and follow strategies of writing; use spelling strategies to spell familiar and new words; write a short report based on available data; design a brochure or poster; make notes from printed sources; put notes into sentences and order them into logical paragraphs; write short formal and informal letters; write warnings/instructions and support them with pictures; write 1-3 paragraphs to narrate, describe or persuade; write complex and compound sentences; use basic cohesive devices to structure a paragraph; write a short simple introduction and conclusion to a paragraph; punctuate sentence correctly; make notes from 2–3 paragraphs, and write a guided paragraph in 3–4 paragraphs using a writing scaffold.

Secondary school second cycle (grade 11 and 12) education shows tertiary education and the world of work. To this end, students take additional subjects that are preconditions for areas of specialization to broaden the choice of fields that they will follow at tertiary level (MoE, 2001). Thus, the aim of the preparatory education is to make students build up the study skills which they require to work efficiently at school and tertiary levels.

2.14.2. An Overview of Writing Activities in Grade Eleven English Textbook

In this study, the researcher examined grade eleven student English textbook and teacher guide to have clear information about the writing lessons and exercises. To this end, the nature of the writing activities was observed whether or not they followed the different stages of writing (See 2.11.2). The instructions of the writing activities in the textbook (See Appendix 3) were given thorough attention to see if the given instructions initiated students to work writing activities through the LTM. In general, the purpose of making an overview of the text was to check if the designed writing activities enhanced the LTM.

Grade eleven English for Ethiopia consists of twelve units. Each unit covers eleven periods, i.e. 10 teaching periods and one assessment period, plus four revision units based on a thirty-four-week school year. The units are expected to be covered in two semesters. Each unit contains ten sections: introduction, reading, listening, language focus, increase your word power, speaking, writing, study skills, fun with words and assessment (MoE, 2003 E.C).

The writing activities taken from the textbook were used for the pilot and main studies of this research, and the students:

1. Plan and write a descriptive report of the African Union.
2. Write an article for a young people’s magazine arguing that Ethiopia needs more educated women to help run the country. As a conclusion to their article, they write advice for girls who are struggling at school.
3. Write letters to pen pals describing their school and education in Ethiopia.
4. Write a health leaflet for younger children: what common ailments/accidents are present and how to prevent/treat them at home and at school based on model from reading.
5. Write an essay on the topic: “We should not ignore traditional medicine because of modern developments”.
6. Choose one country and write a report on the growth and impact of HIV/AIDS on the country.
7. Read a letter from a person living with HIV/AIDS who likes to talk to the students. Then, revise conventions of formal letter and write a reply thanking the person, accepting the offer and suggesting a date and time.
8. Write a short formal letter to the author of a tourist guide book explaining why his/her own village should be included in the guide book.
9. Write one or two paragraphs about where a student lives to send to the author using the reading text as a model.
10. Write narrative paragraphs giving an appropriate opening and conclusion based on their own genre and stages of writing.
11. Revise the features of the leaflet text. Then, write a leaflet designed for a student’s local community, giving information, explanations, and recommendations about a local weather related issue, e.g. Impact of Deforestation.
12. Work with two-three other students who are working on the same topic in order to generate ideas. After writing the first draft of the essay, exchange the work with someone else in order to give suggestions for improvement.
13. Create non-governmental organization for their area and design a brochure to give information about the organization and persuade people to donate money.
14. Write an essay in support of technology using the reading text as a stylistic model. The focus of the next section is to discuss the LTM in the Ethiopian Context.

2.15. The LTM in the Ethiopian Context

An endeavour has been made to realize the idea of the LTM in the Ethiopian schools since the NETP was effective as of 1994. Understanding the significance of English in empowering the quality of Ethiopian human power, the government of Ethiopia decided English to be one of the compulsory subjects for primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. Teaching English is directed to mastery of the four language skills namely listening, speaking, reading, and writing along with vocabulary and grammar. English is the medium of instruction for secondary and higher education, and it is also taught as a subject starting from grade one (MoE, 1994).

To this end, the education policy of the NETPstressed the necessity to make use of appropriate methods of teaching English which may help students communicate effectively. On the basis of this notion, English for Ethiopia Grade Eleven Teacher Guide indicates that if students work in pairs or small groups, they will learn togetherthrough cooperation and thereby express their thoughts more unreservedly than when they respond individually to their teacher’s questions. In other words, they can become active participants in the lessons instead of being passive listeners to other students’ answers to the teacher’s questions (MoE, 2003).

The MoE has employed English for Ethiopia textbooks in place of the old ones, i.e. English for new Ethiopia textbooks since 1996. The new English textbook is more student-centred than its predecessor. In this book, every attempt has been done to engage the students in meaningful and practical communicative activities which are conducted in pairs or small groups. In this way, the amount of time that each student spends on exercising the language is significantly increased when compared with the old English textbooks (Seid, 2012). As the new grade eleven English textbook integrates macro and micro skills, ELT teachers have commenced to practice the principles of CLT through which the LTM/OFLM is emphasized.

Thus, it is possible to say that there has been an attempt to practice the LTM/OFLM in the EFL classrooms at preparatory schools in Ethiopia. Nonetheless, no research works (See 1.2) have shown the actual effects of implementing the LTMwhether or not it fostered the EFL paragraph writing and social skills of eleventh graders at preparatory school level where this research was intended to be conducted.

2.16. Theoretical Frameworks of the Study

The LTM has its roots in social interdependence, motivational and cognitive theoretical perspectives to explicate its achievement effects (Johnson, Johnson and Holubec, 1994). The frameworks of this study are, therefore, based on the said theoretical perspectives which are discussed in the section given below.

2.16.1. Social Interdependence Theoretical Perspective

Social interdependence theory views cooperation as resulting from the positive links of individuals to accomplish a common goal. So, Lewin (1948) said that interdependence developed from common goals provides the essential essence to a group. This inter- dependence, according to Lewin, creates groups that are dynamic wholes. The power of the group is such that a change in any member or subgroup directly changes any other member or subgroup. This theory, concerning Lewin (1948), is similar to motivational theoretical perspective in that it emphasizes primarily motivational rather than cognitive explanations for the instructional effectiveness of LTM. However, motivational theorists held that students help their group mates learn at least in part because it is in their own interests to do so

2.16.2. Motivational Theoretical Perspective

Cooperative goal structures create a situation in which the only way group members can attain to their own personal goals is if the group is successful. To meet personal goals, group members help their group mates and encourage them to exert maximum efforts. In other words, rewarding groups based on group performance creates an interpersonal reward structure in which group members will give or withhold social reinforces like praise and encouragement in response to group mates task related efforts (Slavin,1983).

Though the task motivation is the single most important part of the learning process, other processes such as planning and helping are driven by individuals’ motivated self-interest (Slavin, 1995). The motivation list critique of traditional classroom organization holds that the competitive grading and informal reward system of the traditional classroom creates peer norms opposing academic efforts (Coleman, 1961). Since one student's success decreases the chances that others will succeed, students are likely to express norms that high achievement is for "nerds" or “teachers' pets”. However, by having students work together toward a common goal, they may be motivated to express norms favouring academic achievement, to reinforce one another for academic efforts (Slavin, 1995). Thus, the theoretical rationale for these group rewards is that if students value the success of the group, they will encourage and help one another to achieve.

2.16.3. Cognitive Theoretical Perspective

It is the major alternative to the motivational and social interdependence theoretical perspectives on the LTM. Both of them focus primarily on neither group norms nor interpersonal influence. It held that interactions among students increase their achievements for reasons which have to do with mental processing of information rather than with motivations (Slavin, 1995). Types of cognitive theoretical perspectives are described in the next section.

[...]

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Details

Title
Effects of Implementing the Learning Together Method on EFL
Subtitle
Paragraph Writing and Social Skills of Eleventh Graders
Course
TEFL
Author
Year
2016
Pages
197
Catalog Number
V480605
ISBN (eBook)
9783668968219
ISBN (Book)
9783668968226
Language
English
Notes
The dissertation was submitted in 2016 to the department of English language and literature at Bahir Dar University.
Tags
2016
Quote paper
Wondwosen Tesfamichael (Author), 2016, Effects of Implementing the Learning Together Method on EFL, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/480605

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