Students must have sufficient time to think about how well they are achieving the shared goal and also the task should be made specific rather than vague. A common procedure for group processing is to question each group to list at least three things the group did well and at least one thing that could be improved.
Groups require being able to describe what actions are beneficial and which are not and make decisions about what to continue or change. This permits the group to reflect on how effective their team is in achieving its goals (Johnson & Johnson, 1994). Such processing enables learning groups to concentrate on group maintenance, facilitating the learning of collaborative skills, ensuring members receiving needed feedback on their participation, and reminding them to practice collaborative skills consistently (Smith, 1996).
Figure 1. The theoretical framework
Source: Johnson and Johnson (1994)
Johnson and Johnson (1990) posit that people do not know how to interact effectively with others. Nor do interpersonal and group skills show up magically when required. Group skills must be taught to students and they should be motivated to apply them in their learning process. Therefore, so as to achieve shared and common goals, students should be instructed the proper ways to communicate correctly and resolve conflicts constructively. In cooperative learning small groups in language teaching-learning strategies are much more effective to improve students’ achievement rather than traditional ones.
Based on the literature, to ensure students’ success, teachers may employ the cooperative learning principles where students are the center of focus, the student should be actively engaged in the learning process by understanding, sharing, helping one another to achieve shared group goals.
2.8.4. Structuring Cooperative Learning
As long as the advantages which accrue to students by cooperative leaning are definite and positive (Cohen, 1994), it is also obvious that mere situating students in groups and anticipating them to work together wont enhance cooperation and learning. It is just fruitful when groups organized and formed so that participants apprehend what they are asked to do and how they are required to work together that the capacity for cooperation and learning is maximized (Johnson & Johnson, 1990). This maintains guaranteeing that the task is set up so that all group members comprehend that they are asked to assist in reaching its goal and to help others to do similarly. It also contains confirming that students are taught the interpersonal and small group skills which are required to enhance a sharing and respectful attitude toward others, a willingness to challenge each other’s perspectives and resolve conflicts as they arise, and an understanding of the importance of making group decisions democratically (Battistich, Solomon, & Delucchi, 1993; Galton & Williamson, 1992). When these conditions exist, students are more likely to understand that they are independently connected and that how much they learn is important for others. Consecutively, they feel more motivated for participation and achievement (Johnson & Johnson, 1999; Sharan & Shaulov, 1990). Actually, Mercer (1996) reviewed the small group collaboration literature, and posited that an important issue that is crucial for being successful in such type of learning was the necessity that children communicate and collaborate to cooperative leaning clarifies a problem rather than merely being permitted to do so. Besides, when children are assisted and motivated to discuss their ideas, they construct the knowledge more actively while they are busy learning various functions for language in thinking and reasoning which seems to be impossible to rise in teacher-led discussions.
2.8.5. Interactions in Groups
In a different number of studies analyzing students’ interactions while they were working in groups, Webb (1985, 1991) discovered that the explanations students provide for one another was most likely linked to positive learning goals and outcomes (i.e. short answers or answers with small detail). Wittrock (1990) believed that while assisting, helpers learn to organize their own understanding again and explain it that might aid the helpers to learn the material better than in any other context or situation. Nevertheless, providing not elaborated assistance does not contain as much cognitive restructuring and is not connected to the helper or recipients’ achievement (Webb, 1991). Furthermore, Webb (1991) believed that actually providing recipients with unsolicited explanations were mostly negatively related to achievement.
Just contrary, it has been discussed that students establish and expand a habitual sense of each other’s requirements and most of the time will assist as soon as they understand it is crucial, when they work cooperatively together (Gillies & Ashman, 1996). Gillies and Ashman (1998) mentioned that this kind of assistance and help can take different forms, such as explanations, providing directions, calling partners attention to errors, or passing materials required for a task. When this takes place, student’s show that they are tuned in to one another’s weaknesses by giving information that they believe is either needed or timely. As a matter of fact, they might be more conscious than their teachers of the things others do not understand and will frequently give explanations which are more useful at explaining and analyzing their partners’ mistakes and misapprehension (Webb & Farivar, 1994). In accordance with Vygotsky (1978) and Wertsch (1984), students by assisting partners in developing new meanings and building up new understandings and knowledge, will show their potential to mediate one another’s learning.
It seems that if students are trained how to work in cooperation with one another, their helping behaviors and especially the way they provide explanations, can be promoted. Ross (1995) posited that providing feedback on the way to give and receive aid at the same time as cooperative leaning, can improve their helping behaviours and also their skill in asking for and giving help. In a current study which examined the relationship between cooperation and giving explanations, Terwel, Gillies, van den Eden and Hoek (2001), found a very strong and positive connection between cooperation and giving solicited explanations as long as the relationship between cooperation and explanations was very much smaller. In fact, when children cooperate and work together, they do reply to the needs for assistance from their partners.
Bennett and Dunne (1991) mentioned that interactions are central and decisive in learning which occurs in groups. Nevertheless, it has been argued that it is the abundance of task-based interactions in groups which is crucial for productivity and also follow-up outcomes on content referenced tests and conceptual development (Cohen, 1994). As a matter of fact, interaction is essential to productivity, only when the task is open-ended such as the tasks with no correct answers or set solutions and when the group members are interdependent such as when they have to exchange resources with each other. That is to say, the group members will not be able to discover novel solutions or find the fundamental principles to the problem on which they are working, unless they share ideas and information. Without any doubt, students in cooperative groups asserted themselves more often and used more words per turn of speech than those who worked in groups that had no pre-training of how to work cooperatively and also it seems that they are engaged in more task-related interactions (Shachar & Sharan, 1994). In addition, this is the abundance and consistency of such interactions that have notably anticipated higher learning results for students (Gillies & Ashman, 1998). Whil
e working cooperatively, students will learn how to engage in processes of shared thinking that aids them to gain a better understanding of the perspectives of others and also to build on their contributions to develop new understandings and knowledge (Brown & Campione, 1994; Rogoff, 1994).
2.8.6. Students Perceptions of Cooperative Learning
Although there exists infinite studies and wide body of literature documenting the advantages of cooperative leaning, containing how they help and support each other while they are working together, very few studies have checked out student’s perceptions of what takes place during their cooperative experience. Understanding their perceptions are significant since it has been found that when students understand that they are successful in giving help to their partners, the chance of providing such kind of help increases (Ross, 1995). Additionally, their feelings of self-efficacy are promoted from the recognition they attain from partners for being beneficial.
An insufficient number of studies over students’ perceptions of cooperative leaning have been done. Mulryan (1994) compared fifth- and sixth-grade students’ perceptions of cooperative group work to their teachers’ perceptions. When students were asked about a good cooperative group characteristics, most of them thought that partners required to work well together, share the work, like each other which does not mean being best friends, stay on task, enjoy the time. When they were questioned about the teachers’ expectation perceptions of how they should behave while cooperating, they replied that they were to work with others (not alone), help others, ask for assistance from others, talk about the task with others, and give and receive ideas.
In turn, the teachers thought an ideal cooperative group was one in which students work together and provide assistance to each other. In such groups, they have to encourage, discuss, explain, and share information. They require to be behaving openly to the ideas of others, focus on the task, contribute to the group, and be ready to try to convince others in the support of their ideas.
The students’ and also teachers’ perceptions of the expectations during cooperative leaning were adequately well aligned with both the students and the teachers perceiving cooperative, learning in small groups as one in which students work together, give and receive help, and share ideas and information. Besides, the cooperative context was also seen as one which provided students with the chance to engage in higher-order thinking skills which is not mostly accessible through other pedagogical teaching approaches. As a matter of fact, the reasons advanced for using cooperative leaning in schools were not at all different from the answers given in the survey; that is to say, as a way of enhancing socialization and learning (Johnson & Johnson, 2000; Slavin, 1995).
Although, the use of this modern pedagogical approach to instruction seems to be limited and confined, in spite of the advantages that accrue to students from cooperative leaning (Sharan, Shachar, & Levine, 1999). In a study which was a survey of students’ perceptions of various approaches to the teaching mathematics and science in primary schools, Race and Powell (2000) discovered that there was a decrease in the application of cooperative learning from grades 3 to 8, since the teachers’ attitudes were mirrored the attitudes of the students towards using this cooperative approach to instruction.
2.9. Competitive Learning
When learning a language, it’s common to compare your own progress and abilities with that of others. There’ll commonly be other learners that know more than you, at least about some aspects of a language, or who speak and write with more fluency, accuracy, and confidence than you. You may also meet people who have been studying a language for a shorter time than you but who have achieved a higher level. This can