The journal article Students and Teachers: Trouble shared, Trouble halved by Nalini Arumugam looks at the importance and efficacy of the use of Cooperative Learning strategies in teaching writing skills to students at institutions of higher learning. It presents the view that Cooperative Learning as an instructional approach will promote learning, specifically in writing better than using a Teacher Fronted Instruction (TFI). The study recognised that Cooperative Learning is highly effective in getting students to learn; and in this case to write effectively. The study also looked at the approach from the teacher’s perspective who also agreed that it was highly effective because it facilitated learning but they also perceived it as a time consuming technique.
Objectives or Purpose/Statement of the Problem
An English as a Second Language Learner faces many issues when learning English such as selecting proper words, presenting ideas clearly, generating and developing interesting ideas and as a result of this they are not motivated to learn or to engage with the writing activity (Gleason & Isaacson, 2001). The study therefore assumed that given the above weaknesses, the group writing approach i.e. Cooperative Learning would be able to counter this situation. Research Questions/Hypothesis
This research attempted to answer the following questions: (1) How do the students in the experimental groups perceive the Cooperative Learning approach? (2) What views do tertiary level English as a Second Language teachers have about the Cooperative Learning strategies in their writing classrooms? Rationale of the Study
The study was done to emphasize the positive effects of using Cooperative Learning in English as a Second Language writing classrooms and to study Cooperative Learning in institutions of higher learner. The researcher also wanted to investigate the perceptions of learners and teachers within the higher education setting. Significance of the Study
This research will be beneficial to tertiary level students because it will provide them with an opportunity to elevate their language skills through interaction with their peers. Course writers Curricular Designers will also benefit as they can incorporate cooperative learning in the curriculum to ensure that it is practiced at all levels. English Teachers will use this approach to ensure that students are better equipped to learn and do so in an environment that is interactional. Literature Review
The researcher posited two research questions that needed to be answered: (1) how do the students in the experimental groups perceive the Cooperative Learning approach? In answering this question I. Depaz and R.W. Moni (2008) stated that group writing creates a “risk-free” environment where the learners are not worried of the adult or teacher’s presence. Learners try out expressions and negotiate meaning with a familiar audience without having to worry about getting everything right. This was further supported by the researcher’s evidence which showed that around 76% of the learners said that group writing helped understanding writing tasks; 80% felt it fostered exchange of knowledge, information, and experiences; and 72% revealed that they received helpful feedback from their peers to complete their assigned tasks. A total of 72% agreed that group writing enabled proficient learners to help limited proficient learners. This proves that the students considered this approach one in which they were able to learn without any added pressures and that their peers could help them in their quest for knowledge. The other question that was put forward by the researcher was:(2) What views do tertiary level English as a Second Language teachers have about the Cooperative Learning strategies in their writing classrooms? Iwai (2000), Headrick & Steiner (2007) perceived that Cooperative Learning-based group work...
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