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Practices and challenges of implementing cooperative learning: ethiopian high school efl teachers’ perspectives

Author: 
Dr. Belilew Molla
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

Cooperative learning is widely endorsed as a pedagogical practice that promotes student learning. Recently, the research focus has moved to the role of teachers’ discourse during cooperative learning and its effects on the quality of group discussions and the learning achieved. Although the benefits of cooperative learning are well documented, implementing this pedagogical practice in classrooms is a challenge that many teachers have difficulties accomplishing. The subjects of this study were 52 randomly selected English language teachers who teach in three different Zones of Southern Nations, Nationalities and peoples’ regional State namely Gedeo, Sidama and Segen peoples’zones. Questionnaire and semi-structured interview were used to collect the required data. The quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive methods and the qualitative data were analyzed using narrative techniques. The findings of the study revealed that majority of the teachers did not have clear understanding of the principles and feature of cooperative learning. Among the interviewed 12 teachers, only two had a detailed understanding of the terms and features. The study indicated that the extent to which factors were perceived as barriers to cooperative learning, or issues that could be effectively managed by teachers, differed depending on the teacher’s knowledge of cooperative learning features and function. The study revealed that lack of training on how to successfully implement cooperative learning, lack of students’ accountability for their learning and the learning of others, lack of motivation, students’ reservation to get actively involved in cooperative learning, lack of awareness and absence of clear guidelines for assessments, students’ competition to score better grades, and negative attitude of teachers towards the instructional approach were the major challenges.

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