Chapter One Introduction 1
1.1Background of the Research 1
1.2Purpose and Significance of the Research 3
1.3Overall Structure of the Research 5
Chapter Two Literature Review 6
2.1Definition of Cooperative Learning 6
2.2Studies of Cooperative Learning Abroad and at Home 9
2.2.1Studies of Cooperative Learning Abroad 9
2.2.2Studies of Cooperative Learning at Home 1 1
2.3Research on the Basic Elements and Application of Cooperative Learning 1 3
2.3.1Basic Elements of Cooperative Learning 13
2.3.2Research on Cooperative Learning in English Teaching 1 5
2.4Theoretical Basis 1 8
2.4.1Social Interdependence Theory 1 8
2.4.2Constructivism Theory 1 9
2.4.3Cognitive Theory 20
2.4.4Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory 21
Chapter Three Research Methodology 24
3.1Research Questions 24
3.2Research Subjects 24
3.3Research Instruments 27
3.3.2Semi-structured Interview 29
3.3.3Classroom Observation 29
3.4Data Collection and Analysis 30
Chapter Four Results and Discussion 32
4.1Attitudes of Teachers and Students towards Cooperative Learning 32
4.2Problems of Cooperative Learning in English Teaching 35
4.2.1Grouping Methods of Cooperation 35
4.2.2Content of Cooperation 38
4.2.3Time Allocation of Cooperation 41
4.2.4Evaluation Methods of Cooperation 43
4.3Influencing Factors Cooperative Learning in English Teaching 45
4.3.1Factors of Teachers 46
4.3.2Factors of Students 47
Chapter Five Conclusion 51
5.1Major Findings 51
5.3Limitations and Suggestions for Future Study 58
Appendix One Questionnaire 63
Appendix Two Outline of Interview 64
Appendix Three Classroom Observation Scale 65
About the Author 66
Chapter One Introduction
As an introduction, the first chapter discusses the background, purpose as well as significance of the research.
1.1Background of the Research
The 21st century is an era of rapid development. The importance of the spirit of cooperation and innovation in this era cannot be ignored. The recognition of cooperation is increasingly regarded as one of the significant conditions to measure high-quality talents (Wang Qiang 2017). As the main position of talent training, schools should actively make efforts to meet the requirements of the times and cultivate a large number of talents with cooperation and innovation consciousness for the information age.
The reform of basic education is in line with “autonomy, cooperation and exploration”. English Curriculum Standards for Compulsory Education (2011) (hereinafter referred to as English Curriculum Standards) advances layered goals for different grades, which requires students in junior high schools to achieve the goal of level 5 when they graduate. In these five goals, “cooperation” is mentioned many times. For example, in the basic concept of the curriculum, it is mentioned that teachers should encourage students to experience, practice, participate, explore and cooperate to find the law of language; in the level 5 goal, students are required to communicate with others, to solve problems, to share results and complete the tasks of learning together. In addition, with regard to the grading objectives of emotional attitudes and learning strategies, the English Curriculum Standards has clearly advocated students to energetically cooperate with other students in group activities, draw on the strong points of others to make up for their own weak points so that jointly solve the difficult learning tasks put forward by teachers.
Based on social needs as well as the requirements of English Curriculum Standards, the purpose of education should be completely changed, moving from surface-level, rote instruction within a teacher-fronted framework to a learner-centered, context-grounded approach in which the goal of education is to foster the ability of learners to “communicate with others, find relevant and accurate information for the task at hand, and be co-learners in diverse settings (Celik 2012). In other words, the previous teaching method blindly emphasizes that students master the basic knowledge and skills of the discipline which is no longer suitable for the development of students' sound personality. Teachers must adjust their teaching methods and change from traditional education methods to new education methods. On the other hand, in the stage of compulsory education, because of the age, level of cognition and characteristics of students in junior high schools, peers are one of the “important others” in this critical period, and the role of peers cannot be ignored for them (Cheng, Heguo 2020). Therefore, using cooperative learning strategies among peers cannot only help them master the corresponding knowledge, but also do well in the development of junior high school students both in physical and mental health.
Nowadays, cooperative learning method has been carried out in junior high school English classes in many areas of China. It has attracted many teachers and has been considered as a popular teaching mode. It's a pity that it has also led to the blind imitation of many schools and teachers. In other words, some teachers have implemented cooperative learning, but due to the formalization of the cooperative process and inappropriate cooperative methods, they have not achieved the ideal effect of group cooperation. In essence, it is not divorced from the traditional classroom of “teacher-fronted”.
Therefore, what problems appear in the implementation of cooperative learning, what factors affect the effectiveness of cooperative learning and how to improve these problems have become pressing problems to be solved.
1.2Purpose and Significance of the Research
This section will introduce the purpose and significance of this study.
1.2.1Purpose of the Research
With the guidance of relevant theories of cooperative learning, this research intends to explore and analyze current situation of cooperative learning in junior high school English classes by using research methods including questionnaire, interview and classroom observation. Specifically, the purpose of this research includes the following three aspects:
Firstly, it is to explore the current situation of group cooperative learning in junior high school English teaching by using questionnaire which includes the following aspects: students' attitude towards cooperative learning; grouping methods, content, time allocation and evaluation methods of cooperative learning; factors affecting cooperative learning.
Secondly, to have a deeper understanding and find the problems existing in cooperative learning by combing with the classroom behavior observation scale of teachers and students and the interview with teachers in high schools.
Thirdly, to analyze the factors affecting cooperative learning and put forward improvement suggestions based on the found problems as well as relevant theories of cooperative learning.
1.2.2Significance of the Research
Cooperative learning is considered to be one of the most mainstream educational ideas in the world. Experts in education around the world attach great importance to this concept. From a large number of researches abroad and at home on both theory and practice, we can obviously find that cooperative learning cannot only actively affect students' cognitive development and learning motivation, but also significantly promote students' intellectual quality and non-intellectual quality.
As for the theoretical significance, this paper defines the roles and tasks of teachers and students in cooperative learning. It includes the awareness of cooperation, preparation before cooperation, implementation process and evaluation after cooperation, which enriches the relevant theories of group cooperative learning. Besides, under the background of the reform of new curriculum, study the application situation of group cooperative learning, summarize the problems in its application, then analyze the factors and put forward targeted suggestions is the retro-action of the policy which indicates that it has a certain value of reference for the introduction of the new policy. More importantly, the independent, cooperative and inquiry methods that pay attention to the process of knowledge acquisition are the bridge to form the core literacy of the discipline. Therefore, allowing students to experience real cooperative learning in English classroom is conducive to the cultivation of English subject core literacy.
The practical significance of this research in some aspects is as follows: on the one hand, this research provides conditions for solving the practical problems existing in cooperative learning in English classrooms in junior high schools. Through the analysis of the fragments as well as questionnaire about cooperative learning in English classes in junior high schools, the existing problems are identified. Then the research is committed to in-depth discussion of the causes of these problems and puts forward the optimization countermeasures to improve the implementation of cooperative learning in English classroom in junior high schools; On the other hand, it is helpful for teachers who teach English in junior high schools to distinguish the problems existing in cooperative learning in English classroom and deepen their understanding of the necessity of improving cooperative learning, so as to achieve the purpose of efficient use of cooperative learning. What's more, some practical suggestions are put forward to change the traditional learning methods, which have a certain value of reference for the better application of cooperative learning in English classroom in junior high schools.
1.3Overall Structure of the Research
The whole research is mainly composed of five portions.
The first portion provides with a brief introduction to the research in terms of its background, its purpose, its theoretical and practical significance and its contents and structure.
The second portion is about literature review and theoretical basis. This part summarizes the definition of cooperative learning at first, and then summarizes and analyzes the research on cooperative learning abroad and at home as well as the basic elements and its application in English classes in junior high schools which aims to clearly present the research process of cooperative learning. Finally it expounds the theoretical basis of cooperative learning in detail.
The third portion is concerning research methodology which expounds the research questions, participants, instruments and the procedures in detail.
The fourth portion is the result analysis. The author discusses the results of the research by presenting statistical results of questionnaires, classroom observation and interview.
Conclusion of the whole research is presented in the last portion which sums up the major findings of the research, puts forward the corresponding improvement measures and points out the limitations and suggestions for future study.
Chapter Two Literature Review
This chapter will logically sort out the definition of cooperative learning, researches on cooperative learning abroad and at home, the basic elements of cooperative learning and its application in English teaching. Finally, the theoretical basis of this study will be introduced in detail.
2.1Definition of Cooperative Learning
Cooperative learning originated in the United States in the 1980s, which is known as a breakthrough for its innovation and efficiency of teaching and learning. It has remarkable effects in improving students' learning motivation, learning level and non-intellectual quality. Therefore, it has been favored by countries all over the world and has quickly become the main teaching method of classroom teaching.
Although there are abundant theoretical and practical studies on cooperative learning, scholars have different opinions on the definition of cooperative learning. Scholars with different value orientations use different methods to define the connotation of cooperative learning from different emphases. The representative definitions can be roughly divided into several categories.
Slavin (2005), a famous professor of Johns Hopkins University holds that cooperative learning is a kind of technology for classroom teaching that enables students to engage in learning activities in groups and receive rewards or recognition according to the achievements of their whole group. With the encouragement of teachers who use this teaching technology, students actively participate in group learning activities and receive corresponding rewards. Definition of professor Slavin highlights the importance of the overall performance of the group and the need for students in the group to work towards a goal.
Sharan (2017) described it as a teaching project in which students work in groups to help each other master key content. He said: “Cooperative learning is the general expression of a series of methods to organize and promote classroom teaching. Participation of all the students in the learning process is the foundation and focus of all these methods.” Sharon's definition emphasizes students' role in division of labor, cooperation and mutual help. Group cooperation can play its role only if each student is responsible for his own group.
Dr. Spencer Kagan (1992) said: “In terms of the structure of cooperative learning, it is a systematic structure based on creativity and analysis, or a free way to organize social interaction in the classroom.” Kagan defined the structure of cooperative learning and explained that cooperative learning is a more free way of interaction in the classroom. He believes that cooperative learning is an embodiment of “social interaction” in the classroom, which highlights the communicative, creative and systematic nature of cooperative learning.
The Johnson Brothers (D.W. Johnson, R.T. Johnson 1991) defined cooperative learning as “a connection between students in a group”. This connection requires students to rely on each other and take personal responsibility; ask students to strengthen face-to-face interaction, so as to promote the continuous improvement of the team. This definition emphasizes the interaction between interdependent students. In order to achieve the common goals of the group, students need to encourage each other and cooperate actively. Everyone is the undertaker and sharer of team achievements. Therefore, team members believe that individual performance is determined by the interaction between the individual and the team.
Although foreign experts have different definitions of cooperative learning from different angles, they all agree that the integrity of group cooperation is the core of the role of cooperative learning, which emphasizes the group as a whole. That is, cooperative learning is different from individual learning and emphasizes the interrelationship of the whole group, whether in the process of cooperation or results of cooperation.
In the late 1980s, the concept of cooperative learning was introduced into China from abroad. Scholars in our country also made a comprehensive analysis of cooperative learning and achieved fruitful results.
Educator Wang Hongyu (1993) pointed out that cooperative learning refers to classroom teaching in the form of learning within groups which organizes students to study together in heterogeneous groups according to certain procedures and methods. At the same time, it promotes the development of students' cognition and emotion through cooperative interpersonal communication. This definition emphasizes strategy, through which students can discuss the learning content with interactive communication in the learning group, and finally promote the continuous improvement of the understanding and attitude towards the members of the group towards the learning content.
Liu Jilin (2004), believed that group cooperative learning can be called cooperative teaching, which itself is a new teaching design of teaching in the new era. It turns students' individual learning activities into group learning activities. Meanwhile, the success or failure of individual learning activities is directly related to the honor of the group. This educational research integrates individuals into the whole and raises the height of individuals to the height of the whole.
Wang Tan (2004), a well-known professor in China, considered cooperative learning as an activity which takes cooperative learning groups as the basic form, systematically uses the interaction between teaching dynamic factors to promote students' learning, and takes group achievement as the evaluation standard to jointly achieve teaching objectives. He describes the forms and interactivity of cooperative learning from the following aspects: the basic form of cooperative learning is heterogeneous learning group system; the mode of cooperative learning is to make full use of the interaction between teaching dynamic factors, and achievements of the whole group is the evaluation standard of cooperative learning.
Sheng Qunli (2012), a Chinese scholar, believes that cooperative learning refers to a learning method in which several students are grouped according to gender, ability, personality characteristics, family and social background to form a heterogeneous learning group to achieve the same learning objectives by promoting each other and learning from each other. This definition emphasizes the goal orientation. All activities focus on certain common goals and carry out targeted organizational control and management according to certain grouping background.
Although domestic scholars have different definitions of cooperative learning, they all agree with the integrity of cooperative learning. In addition, they also affirm the positive role of cooperative learning in achieving goals.
To sum up, due to different cultural backgrounds and research perspectives, domestic and foreign experts have made different definitions of cooperative learning from the aspects of nature, composition and objectives, showing different understandings and expressions. Nevertheless, they all agree that cooperative learning is integral, mutual and common development for the same goal. At the same time, they all hold a positive and supportive attitude towards the teaching effect brought by cooperative learning.
Therefore, in view of the results of researches abroad and at home, we can regard cooperative learning as a strategic system that can play an important role. It refers to taking heterogeneous learning groups as the basic organizational unit in the classroom, and the members of the group bear different responsibilities in the process of achieving the common learning objectives and give full play to the interactive cooperation among various teaching dynamic factors, and finally make accurate evaluation and effective feedback according to the learning results of the whole cooperative group.
2.2Studies of Cooperative Learning Abroad and at Home
This section will present the studies of cooperative learning abroad and at home and the similarities and differences will be summarized.
2.2.1Studies of Cooperative Learning Abroad
In the early stage of research on cooperative learning, the British priests Lancaster and Bell widely used cooperative learning groups in Britain at the end of the 18th century. This idea spread to the United States in 1806 which contributed to the foundation of the first Lancaster school in New York. And then the United States put great emphasis on the application of cooperative learning in the early 19th century. Educators such as Parker and Dewey were very keen on cooperative learning. In his representative work Talk about Pedagogy, Parker (2005) also called on children to learn with communication. His cooperative learning method was deeply appreciated by most of people and has been popular for some time. Dewey (2007) inherited and developed the ideas of Lancaster and Parker, and made cooperative learning become a part of his “learning-by-doing” teaching method.
With the continuous enrichment of research results, in the 1940s, Moreno developed social measurement and social relationship map. Lewin's Situation Theory focuses on the current situation (non-historical) to analyze behavior. The results show that cooperative learning groups are able to actively carry out the work for parting and integration, pay attention to the performance of the same class as well as the quality of group work so that the quality of discussion is also higher; However, the performance of the competition group did not increase the investment and interest in the learning process. We may draw conclusions based on these findings: First, good performance and organizational productivity come from the interactive relationship of cooperation; Second, the harmony and efficiency of the group will be interrupted when competition is adopted for some external goal; Third, cooperation will produce more interaction between people than competition.
In the process of modern development, three target structures including formal cooperative learning, informal cooperative learning and cooperative grass-roots groups have been developed by David Johnson and Roger Johnson Brothers, pioneers of cooperative learning research and promotion. Each structure has its advantages and disadvantages. It is the cooperation with each other that the classroom will give full play to its potential. Another famous representative of cooperative learning is Bolukbas (2011). He puts forward some methods, such as the group achievement differentiation method, group assisted teaching method, cooperative integrated reading and writing method and so on. He emphasizes improving the efficiency of classroom teaching. The cooperative learning methods he developed are aimed at improving the efficiency of classroom teaching.
Devris and Edwards developed the group game competition method at Johns Hopkins University in 1980. Allen Sen (1983) of the University of California developed the jigsaw puzzle method and his colleagues developed a cooperative learning method based on cognitive theory, which is abbreviated as “MURDER”.
Since the rise of cooperative learning in the 1970s, foreign experts began to study the definition and characteristics of cooperative learning, and gradually developed to study the structure diagram of cooperative learning, and then study the impact of cooperative learning on economy, politics even the whole society. It might be found that researches on cooperative learning is the expansion from point to line and then to surface, and it is the progression from individual to group and then to the whole country, which is not only reflected in theory, but also reflected in practice.
2.2.2Studies of Cooperative Learning at Home
In the late 1980s, the concept of cooperative learning was introduced into China from foreign countries. Scholars in our country also made a comprehensive analysis of cooperative learning and achieved a lot.
In 1989, the former Department of education of Hangzhou University and No. 11 junior high school in Hangzhou jointly carried out an experimental study. At the beginning it carried out research in the discipline of Chinese, Math and English. After the implementation of this learning strategy, the whole classroom teaching has changed.
In 1992, Beijing Normal University began the “Experimental Research on the Subjective Development of Girls and Children”. The research group preliminarily constructed four basic strategies of developmental teaching: collective teaching, cooperative learning, differential development and experience success. Among them, cooperative learning is an important part of this research.
In 1993, based on the current teaching situation of China, Shandong Institute of Educational Sciences presided over the meeting named “Research and Experiment of Cooperative Teaching” at which discussed cooperative learning. It started the topic in Shandong in the second half of 1993, held two seminars in 1994 and 1995, and proposed a novel mode of cooperative learning: collaborative design-group presentation-group activities-individual tests-group rewards-feedback remediation.
The National Cooperative Education Research Professional Committee was established in 1997, which indicates that the research of cooperative teaching at home has developed into a new stage. The professional committee has guided and carried out a series of cooperative teaching activities since its establishment, and has published many theoretical research results, summarized the typical experience of cooperative teaching reform in Shandong Dulangkou junior high school and Guangdong Jiangmen No. 1 junior high school, and has effectively advanced the development of cooperative learning in China.
Under the requirements of the reform of new curriculum, cooperative learning is well received in teaching practice by primary and secondary schools within all over the country. More and more primary and secondary school teachers participate in the discussion of cooperative learning, and the concerns and discussions have exceeded the previous standards. Moreover, researchers at home have summarized many strategies of cooperative learning both in theory and practice, such as the teaching strategy of “heterogeneous cooperation and homogeneous learning”, “hierarchical goal teaching, group cooperative learning” and “cooperative reading teaching strategy”.
The research on cooperative learning in China is showing a prosperous scene. However, most of the researches start from the perspective of students, resulting in deficiency of researches on group cooperation from the perspective of teachers and other relatively macro perspectives. At the same time, different researchers have different research perspectives on cooperative learning, and there is no clear and unified positioning (Ding Guifeng 2005). Some classify cooperative learning as a teaching method from the perspective of teachers, while others classify cooperative learning as a learning method from the perspective of students.
2.3Research on the Basic Elements and Application of Cooperative Learning
This section introduces two parts: The basic elements of cooperative learning as well as research on the application of cooperative learning in English teaching.
2.3.1Basic Elements of Cooperative Learning
Cooperative learning belongs to a strategic system that will make a difference. It is essentially different from the group discussion from traditional classroom mode. What's more, the basic elements of cooperative learning refer to the essential conditions for implementing cooperative learning which is the specific quality and is different from other teaching activities. So how to make the most of cooperative learning strategies in the teaching process is a critical issue that needs to be analyzed and discussed carefully (Tang Li 2019).
According to the existing research results abroad and at home, educators have the highest recognition of the Five Elements Theory. The five elements are as follows:
The first one is the Positive Interdependence. That is, the team members realize that the relationship between them is interdependent. Everyone does not have independence and needs to be responsible for the learning tasks of other members, and they need to rely on the assistance and encouragement from other members to complete their own learning tasks (Zeng Qi 2019). There are many ways to improve the dependence among group members, such as reward interdependence, goal interdependence and role interdependence.
The second one is the Face-to-Face Promotive Interaction. It refers that the members of the group should carry out cooperation and mutual assistance activities, strengthen the communication with the participants in groups, not only complete their own tasks and objectives, but also provide full help to other members (D.W. Johnson, R.T. Johnson 1991). Effective interactive activities can cultivate cooperative skills and emotions, which will be more conducive to the development of cooperative learning.
The third is the element of Individual Accountability, that is, everyone should make efforts to solve the difficulties of the whole group, not just rely on others. And the final performance of the whole group will be judged according to the completion of individual tasks and the completion of the task of the whole group (Wang Tan 2002). In order to prevent members from fishing in troubled waters and evading their responsibilities during cooperative learning, members can be tested, asked questions and other random assessments at any time.
The fourth element is about Interpersonal and Group Skills. The process of cooperative learning is the process of effective interaction between group members, which requires the active participation of each member. Therefore, students must have certain cooperation and social skills, including communication skills, decision-making and inference skills, leadership skills and so on (Jiang Bo 2017). In order to guide students to communicate with each other, teachers need to make it clear to students in advance that the reward is based on the collective achievements of the group, instead of individual wisdom.
The fifth element is Group Processing, that is, the learning process should be reflected and evaluated regularly in the group, the experience should be summarized regularly, the completion of learning tasks of each member and the cooperation among members of the group should be investigated in time, and the learning direction and learning objectives of the whole group should be reasonably planned according to the actual situation (Wang Wenli 2019). Group self-assessment which is an indispensable part of cooperative learning, can enable group members to objectively understand the problems existing in their group and correct them in time, so as to provide useful feedback for group cooperation.
From the above five basic elements of cooperative learning, each member should clarify their learning tasks and responsibilities, realize that there is an interdependent cooperative relationship between themselves and other members. They also should have corresponding cooperative ability, and actively participate in learning activities within the group. While completing their own learning tasks, provide effective help for other members to successfully complete their tasks at any time, and regularly reflect and evaluate the task completion and cooperation of the whole group. Besides, in the whole process of cooperative learning, organization, supervision, incentive and evaluation by teachers are indispensable. Only by firmly grasping these five basic elements can cooperative learning contribute a unified whole, in order to provide a sound guarantee for the smooth development of teaching work and the achievement of ideal teaching effect.
2.3.2Research on Cooperative Learning in English Teaching
With the gradual maturity of the research on cooperative learning, considerable amount of scholars apply it to their own classroom teaching. Through continuous research and practice, the research results of cooperative learning in English teaching are becoming more and more abundant. The following are presented from two aspects: listening and speaking, reading and writing.
In recent years, cooperative learning has also been actively practiced in English teaching of listening and speaking. On the basis of pointing out the poor current situation of cooperative learning in teaching listening in senior high school, Xu Chunlei (2016) tried to make a thorough inquiry of the strategies of cooperative learning in promoting English listening teaching in senior high schools from the aspects of construction of model, learning tasks, precautions and evaluation mechanism. Dai Xiaoguang (2019) divided the listening content into different parts in class and assigns them to students and let them complete teachers' tasks in the process of group cooperation. Then he found that cooperative learning can offer opportunities to students for in-depth learning, expressing, teaching and listening, and can cultivate their sense of team assistance as well as improving the learning effect. In addition, scholars have also actively explored the application of cooperative learning in listening teaching, which has facilitated the development of researches on the application of cooperative learning in English listening teaching. Compared with the application of cooperative learning in listening class, there are more researches and practice on combing cooperative learning with oral English teaching. For example, Cai, Huiping, Cai, Mingde, Luo Yi (2004) applied cooperative learning to oral English teaching and advanced specific teaching strategies and teaching models. In addition, some teachers take college students as the research participants and make a practical research on oral English teaching. It is concluded that cooperative learning can strengthen the communication between students and teachers in classroom and enhance students' oral English level. In addition to applying cooperative learning to oral English classroom teaching, other researchers have also made more in-depth exploration. For example, Zhao Sanjun (2020) analyzes the advantages of cooperative learning from the perspective of ecology, and uses its advantages to establish and maintain the ecological balance of oral English classroom; Wu Lin (2018) uses cooperative learning strategies and the other two strategies as the theoretical framework to carry out three-dimensional oral English Teaching: reading, reciting and showing. Through the investigation and test of students, it is found that cooperative learning strategies play a positive role in stimulating students' interest in oral English learning and cultivating cross-cultural social ability (Chen Xiaoli 2019).
Studies of cooperative learning in English reading teaching are relatively mature. According to different research objects, some of the research participants are students from primary schools. For example, Zhu Minfang (2018) pointed out the importance of cooperative learning in English reading, analyzed the difficulties and reasons in the application process, and proposed corresponding countermeasures combined with her own teaching experience. There are also some research objects for junior high school students. Another part of the research objects are high school students. The main research contents include the specific operation, effect, problems and solutions of cooperative learning in English reading teaching. Zhang Yuan and Yu Fang also studied these contents. Different from the above research with students as the research object, Ma Shan (2020) and Zhang Xinwen (2020) studied cooperative learning with teachers as the research object. In order to improve the efficiency of students' cooperative learning, they explored the role of teachers in cooperative learning and the relationship between teachers and students, and pointed out the roles and tasks that teachers should play in cooperative learning (Jiang Lei 2021). Domestic researchers not only apply cooperative learning to English listening, speaking and reading classes, but also apply cooperative learning strategies to English writing classes. In addition to the above studies, there are also studies on the specific operation of cooperative learning in English writing teaching. For example, Qian Xuming (2019) applied cooperative learning in teaching writing. The results show that the reasonable application of cooperative learning plays a positive role in writing classroom, focusing on reducing and alleviating students' writing anxiety and improving students' writing performance.
To sum up, cooperative learning is involved in two aspects of English teaching: listening and speaking, reading and writing. We can see the research content is comprehensive and the research results are relatively mature. From the perspective of the research object, it not only includes students from primary schools, junior high schools, but also from senior high schools and colleges. The results of researches are very optimistic. Therefore, cooperative learning plays an active role in English learning for students of all ages; With regard to research methods, there are experimental methods, interview methods, questionnaire survey methods and so on. Although the methods used by former scholars are different, the results are consistent. Therefore, no matter which research method is used for verification, the positive role of cooperative learning in English teaching cannot be ignored.
However, at present, the research on cooperative learning in English classroom still stays in the overall cooperative learning, and there is no detailed and step-by-step exploration of the problems. For example, whether there are problems in teachers' and students' understanding of the ontological function of cooperative learning, whether teachers can reasonably operate cooperative learning, and whether students know how to cooperate, whether there is “false cooperation” and so on. Therefore, the research on the current application of cooperative learning in junior high school English teaching can be widened and deepened, and the problems can be found from the details.
This section will introduce the theory involved in this study in detail, which is the theoretical basis of this study.
2.4.1Social Interdependence Theory
Social interdependence theory which is considered to be the most important and core theoretical basis of cooperative learning, rose in the United States in the 1940s.
It originated from Lewin's group dynamics and Gestalt's psychology. It was proposed by Gestalt and Lewin, and then continued to be developed and improved by Doich and his disciple Johnson Brothers. Kaufka (1998) believed that the group is the changeable entirety in which the interdependence among participants is dynamic, and the interdependence among members has its differences. Lewin expounded Kaufka's point of view. He believed that the nature of the group is the reciprocity formed by its members based on the common goal, which promotes the group to become a whole. It will affect other members or other sub-groups if the condition of any member or sub-group member within the group changes (Dishon 2013). The internal tension of group members can trigger the motivation to achieve common goals. The Johnson Brothers (1991) summarized the social interdependence theory as follows: in a specific social situation, the goal people pursue determines the way they interact, and the way of interaction can determine the result of this situation.
Based on the theory of social interdependence, the heart of cooperative learning theory is that when all members of the group study together for the common learning goal, the power of solidarity and mutual assistance will play a vital role. The mutual help and encouragement among team members and the interdependence in learning
resources, learning information and cooperation skills promote them to work and develop together in cooperation, so as to truly help each other in the same boat.
Constructivism theory rose in the 1980s. The main representatives are Piaget and Bruner. This kind of theory stress that knowledge is constructed by individuals out of their initiative and this kind of construction needs to resonate after cooperative discussion with others, rather than arbitrary construction, so as to constantly supplement and improve it. Through the cooperative learning of learners and adopting others' strong points while overcoming weak points, they can achieve the integration of knowledge and information, so that students can understand the knowledge more comprehensively and deeply.
Chen Qi and Liu Rude (2007) pointed out that constructivism learning theory is a change in educational psychology and the general trend of education. Wu Simin (2013) emphasized at the National Theoretical Seminar on Teaching Communication that human knowledge mainly consists of two aspects: For one thing, it is a subjective activity, and individuals can give full play to their subjective initiative to complete it; For another thing, it is the communication activities of the subject, and cooperation is the basic form of interpersonal communication. Constructive learning mainly focuses on the process of interpersonal communication, that is, interaction. This way of communication between people not only runs through people's learning career, but also through everyone's work and life in the future (Wang Tan 2011).
Constructivism theory is widely used in junior high school English teaching. With the help of this learning theory, educators should actively provide students with situational conditions for learning creation, and set up corresponding interactive learning activities according to different teaching links (Harmer 2010). Meanwhile, teachers are supposed to help students to establish an atmosphere of unity, mutual trust, friendship and mutual assistance in the group. The most important thing in English teaching is the real language learning environment. The particularity of language 19
learning determines that we can adopt group discussion, speech, interview, role play and other activities according to different learning contents, and strive to promote students to participate in group cooperation activities. These methods enable students to have a deeper understanding of English to a great extent and reconstruct the knowledge they have learned.
Cognitive theory belongs to the category of psychology which focuses on internal processing, such as the acquisition and memory of information, knowledge and experience, achieving epiphany, connecting ideas and concepts, and solving problems. Piaget, Bruner and Ausubel are the representatives of this theory who support that because information has a certain processing process in the mind, students' mutual communication around a certain teaching task can promote their mastery of key concepts.
Cognitive theory can be divided into cognitive development theory and cognitive refinement theory. The embodiment of cognitive development theory, first proposed by Piaget, in cooperative learning is that when students with different learning levels discuss and communicate in the same group, students with lower cognitive level can reach their zone of proximal development with the help of team members who have higher cognitive level when listening to them to explain and express their views. While the theory of cognitive refinement is reflected in when students with high cognitive level express their views and explain a certain knowledge point, they repeatedly deliberate and elaborate the new knowledge or the received information. In this process, students connect new knowledge with existing knowledge at first, so as to complete the reorganization of information, and finally construct new knowledge (Brown 2000). Relevant researches show that the growth of students' ability of cognition is largely related to the different cognitive level between themselves and the social models. If there is a small gap between them, it is more instrumental in the development of students' cognition. In fact, when students discuss and argue, and expose their lack reasoning, students' cognitive ability has been strengthened and their understanding of the problem has been deepened.
Therefore, in the process of teaching, cooperative learning is the best way to enhance students' cognitive ability. Students cannot only master the rule of knowledge, but also learn the thinking model of others. Beneficial thinking conflict and thinking deviation can make students reflect on themselves from an objective point of view. Teaching by example is more important than words. Students take others as their teachers in their communication with others, so as to constantly understand themselves and improve themselves.
2.4.4Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Theory
Hierarchy of Needs Theory was proposed by American psychologist Maslow. When analyzing different levels of human needs, he found that individuals in society have different levels of needs. They are, in ascending order, physiology (food), safety (personal safety), love and belonging (friendship), esteem (faith) and self-actualization (creativity).
The theory of hierarchy of needs origins from two basic points. One is that everyone has different needs of different levels. After the needs of one layer are met, the needs of the other layer appear; secondly, when a variety of needs are not met, we first meet urgent needs. After the needs are met, the latter needs show their incentive effect. In Maslow's view (1943), people's own needs are the direct source of their behavior and their internal drive, that is to say, their needs determine their internal drive. The four including communication, help seeking, game and performance are the four kinds of needs that he believes are directly related to cooperative learning. William Glaser, a famous American educator and a representative of cooperative learning, claims that cooperative learning is a very effective learning method and advocates that students should form cooperative learning groups (Feichtner 2014). Therefore, the psychological needs of students have become the basis for the establishment of cooperative learning.
Therefore, through the construction of learning groups for cooperative learning, the needs of students are greatly met, which stimulates the internal power of students' active learning as well as enhancing students' learning initiative and enthusiasm, and cultivates and develops students' emotional cognition (Vermette 1994). As an important and unique organization, the school can satisfy the needs of students. The reason why students study and live here cannot only obtain the conditions required for growth and development, but also obtain the satisfaction of interpersonal communication required by belonging, love and self-esteem. Therefore, whether we can cultivate constructive, harmonious, warm and fragrant relations in schools has become the crux to the success of school education, rather than relying on a single student's academic performance. This requires school education to teach students to respect and understand people in the specific education process, and enable them have the ability to communicate and get along well with others. Thus, the occurrence of cooperation not only stimulates students' interest of learning, but correspondingly cultivates their good communication quality, so that they can form an emotional attitude towards self-esteem in mutual help, respect and mutual encouragement.
In a word, this chapter mainly presents four theoretical bases of cooperative learning, and they all emphasize the importance of cooperative learning. These theories not only overlap, but are complementary to each other. For instance, Social Interdependence Theory, mainly from the perspective of connection, emphasizes the interrelationship between individuals. Cognitive Theory and Constructivism Theory emphasize the initiative of the construction of individual knowledge. The difference between these two theories is that Cognitive Theory mainly emphasizes that students with lower cognitive levels can increase cognition through cooperate with those who has higher level. Constructivism emphasizes that the subject of knowledge construction is the individual learner. Teachers should create such conditions for students to construct knowledge and the most effective way is cooperative learning. The Hierarchy of Needs Theory considers cooperative learning from people's internal needs. It believes people's
survival and life in society have not only material and physiological needs, but also spiritual needs. People need to be recognized by others, gain self-esteem, and release repressed emotions through conflict with others. Then cooperative learning can enhance people's understanding by establishing communication, and control the conflict between people within a small range, so as to make each other obtain spiritual satisfaction and strength. In short, each theory explains the particularity and importance of cooperative learning from different angles, which lays a solid theoretical foundation for the implementation of cooperative learning strategies in the classroom.
Chapter Three Research Methodology
This chapter will introduce the research questions, research objects and the reasons for selection, research methods and the relationship between various methods, and finally introduce the research process.
With the deepening of the reform of new curriculum and the continuous strengthening of the cultivation of core literacy for students, educators have realized the importance of cooperative learning. Most schools are trying to apply cooperative learning method to class. However, with the gradual popularization of cooperative learning, many problems have also arisen. Therefore, based on the relevant researches on cooperative learning, this paper mainly discusses the following problems:
(1)What are the attitudes of teachers and students towards cooperative learning in junior high school English teaching?
(2)What are the existing problems in grouping methods, content, time allocation, evaluation methods of cooperative learning in junior high school English teaching?
(3)What are the factors affecting cooperative learning in junior high school English teaching?
This study selects 309 students (300 students as the subjects of questionnaire and 9 of interview) and 6 teachers as its research participants from a junior high school in Yantai. In order to ensure the authenticity and effectiveness of the research results, this paper randomly selects two classes of students in each grade from Grade 6 to Grade 8 in the target school. Information about the participants is presented in Table 3.1.
Table 3.1 Number of Students Who Participated in Questionnaire
Class/Grade Number of Boys Number of Girls Total Number
Class 3 Grade 6 26 24 50
Class 9 Grade 6 24 25 49
Class 1 Grade 7 27 24 51
Class 5 Grade 7 24 26 50
Class 2 Grade 8 23 25 48
Class 8 Grade 8 27 25 52
Total 151 149 300
The author selects two English teachers from each grade from Grade 6 to Grade 8. The six English teachers are different in responsible class, age, teaching age and gender; in addition, nine students were also selected for interview. The information of the respondents is shown in Table 3.2 and Table 3.3.
Table 3.2 Information of Teachers Who Participated in Interview
Name Gender Age Teaching Age Grade
Ann Female 33 7 6
Eva Female 40 18 6
Brian Male 28 6 7
Sarah Female 39 17 7
Julie Female 44 21 8
Daniel Male 37 12 8
Table 3.3 Information of Students Who Participated in Interview
Name Gender Age Class/Grade
Carina Female 13 Class 1 Grade 6
Ariel Female 12 Class 5 Grade 6
Betty Male 13 Class 8 Grade 6
Lucy Female 14 Class 2 Grade 7
Austin Male 14 Class 7 Grade 7
Hebe Female 14 Class 9 Grade 7
Cherry Female 15 Class 5 Grade 8
Gina Female 15 Class 6 Grade 8
Terry Male 15 Class 9 Grade 8
The reasons for the selection are as follows:
One the one hand, it is one of the most distinctive schools in Yantai which has implemented cooperative learning method for many years according to the demands of the English Curriculum Standards in Shandong province and will regularly select excellent cooperation groups and reward them. It can be seen that the application of cooperative learning has attracted the attention of the whole school that has laid a solid foundation for the implementation of the research. On the other hand, the author will have an internship for a whole semester in the target school, which provides great convenience for the implement of the research.
The reasons why the author selects students from Grade six to eight are that, for one thing, compared with the students from grade nine who are under great pressure of the senior high school entrance examination, students from Grade six to eight are more able to naturally carry out cooperative learning method; for another, students from Grade six to Grade eight are lively, have their own independent ideas as well as the ability to find problems, analyze and solve them which make it easier to investigate, observe and analyze the current situation of the application of cooperative learning.
This paper mainly uses questionnaire, semi-structured interview and classroom observation as its research instruments. Details are as follows.
Questionnaire is one of the ways of investigation research, which refers to a method of using self-administered questionnaire, systematically and directly collecting data from a sample from a certain social group, and understanding social phenomena and laws through statistical analysis of data. Its main advantage is that it can give consideration to both description and interpretation.
The questionnaire (Appendix I) involved in this study is adapted from the questionnaire used by Xue Jing (2012) of Northeast Normal University in her master's thesis. At the same time, the adaptation of the questionnaire also takes the basic concept of cooperative learning put forward by Wang Tan as reference. It is mainly divided into the following dimensions: students' attitude towards cooperative learning; grouping methods, content, time allocation and evaluation methods of cooperative learning; factors affecting cooperative learning.
In order to ensure that the data obtained through the questionnaire is reliable and can be used for analysis, the questionnaire is tested before the formal distribution of it, and 50 students are selected for testing at random. The result shows that there is no ambiguity in the questionnaire, and the experimental data can be collected as expected. In addition, to further ensure the consistency and stability of the data, the author tests the reliability and validity with the help of SPSS 22.0 statistical tool, the results can be seen in Table 3.4 and Table 3.5 which show that the quantitative values of reliability and validity of the questionnaire are reasonable.
Table 3.4 The Reliability of Questionnaire
Dimension N of Items Alpha
Attitude 4 .856
Gioupiiig 3 .790
Content 2 .764
Time 3 .785
Evaluation 4 .886
Factors 4 .872
Total 20 0.945
Table 3.5 Validity of the Questionnaire
Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measiue of Sampling Adequacy .949
Approx. Chi-Sqiiaie 5466.980
Baitletfs Test of Sphericity
In this study, a total of 300 questionnaires are distributed and 294 questionnaires are recovered including 290 effective samples, the effective rate is 96%. The first part of the questionnaire is the introduction, which briefly introduces the background of the questionnaire. The second part is the body part which includes the grade and gender information of the respondents and the single-choice questions. Except for basic information, all the items are designed based on the Five-point Likert Scale, from “1=completely consistent” to “5=completely inconsistent”. Corresponding to the research questions, the questionnaire can be divided into the following dimensions: students' attitude towards cooperative learning (Q1-Q4), forms of group construction (Q5-Q7), content (Q8-Q9) and time allocation (Q10-Q12) of cooperation, influencing factors (Q13-Q16), evaluation methods (Q17-Q20). The final part expresses gratitude to the respondents. The purpose of it is to find the problems between teachers and students in cooperative learning, judge whether there is false cooperation, and then find out the reasons and put forward countermeasures, so that cooperative learning can play its greatest role in English teaching and help cultivate students' core literacy.
In order to have a deeper understanding the current situation, this paper also adopts the way of interview which is a face-to-face communication. Through semi-structured interview with students and teachers, we can understand the views and confusion of teachers and students on cooperative learning, conducting cause analysis and finding ways to solve problems.
The interview outline (for teachers) (Appendix II) which is designed in view of the five elements of cooperation advanced by the Johnson mainly focus on the following dimensions: Teachers' attitude towards cooperative learning, basis of grouping, selection of cooperation content, teachers' evaluation of the results of cooperation and other aspects of cooperative learning need to be improved.
The interview outline (for students) (Appendix I), adapted from the interview outline used by Yao Wenjuan (2019) of Hunan Normal University in her master's thesis, mainly include the following aspects: the students' attitude towards cooperative learning in English class, division of responsibilities of the group, confusion about cooperative learning for them and other ideas of students on cooperative learning.
With the permission of the interviewee, the author records the whole interview process, then encodes and transcribes the qualitative data, and finally analyzes it. More over, all interviews are conducted in Chinese, so as to ensure the smooth progress of the interview and avoid ambiguity.
Classroom observation which is the supplement of questionnaire can truly observe what happens in the classroom, and the results will be more persuasive; Moreover, in the process of group learning, because of students' differences in personality, the communication situation in cooperative learning is also different. Using classroom observation can more intuitively find and record the problems.
The observation scale (Appendix III) is designed based on Fred & Johna's classroom-based assessment in second language education. Classroom observation mainly involves the following five dimensions: teaching links, teacher-student activities, activity duration, achievement inspection and evaluation.
This study observed 30 classes, including 15 listening and speaking classes and 15 reading and writing classes. All observed courses are recorded as videos so as to facilitate repeated observation and research later.
In conclusion, three different research methods are shared in this study. Each research method plays a unique role in different stages. At the beginning of the research, the questionnaires adapted according to the relevant theories of cooperative learning are distributed widely, which laid the foundation of the research; then semi-structured interview further makes up for the deficiency of the questionnaires and increases the authenticity of the research; classroom observation takes what actually happens in the classroom as the research object, which makes up for the subjectivity brought by only using questionnaires and interviews. It seems that each research method is separated from each other, but in this study, there is a certain internal correlation between each research method.
3.4Data Collection and Analysis
This study is conducted during the author's internship in the target school, from September 2021 to December 2021, lasting for four months. The research process can be divided into three stages: preparation, data collection, data analysis and discussion.
In the preparation stage of this study, the author selects, reads and sorts out a large number of literature on the theories and elements of cooperative learning and the current situation of cooperative learning in junior high school English classes, and then determines the research problems, research methods and so on. At the same time, based on the research problems and practical situation, referring to the theories put forward by predecessors and experts, the questionnaire, interview outline (including teachers and students) and classroom observation scale involved in this study are finally determined under the guidance of the tutor.
Data collection mainly involves three parts: questionnaire, interview and classroom observation scale which is conducted from October 2021 to November 2021. Before the formal distribution of the questionnaire, the researcher first conducts a pretest among 50 students to ensure that the questionnaire has no ambiguous item and can be understand easily. After the reliability and validity of the questionnaire are tested, a total of 300 questionnaires are distributed to students from Grade six to Grade eight for investigation. In order to deeply understand the current situation of cooperative learning, this study also implement face-to-face communication with 6 teachers and 9 students after collecting the questionnaire. All interviews are conducted without prior notice and in a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere in order to get more real data and understand the most real situation. During this period, the researcher also entered the classroom for classroom observation. This study studied 30 English classes, including 15 listening and speaking classes (five classes for each grade from grade one to three) and 15 reading and writing classes (five classes for each grade from grade one to three). The observed English classes are recorded with the consent of the teachers, and also recorded with the observation scale.
The author finished all collection of data at the end of November 2021. Data analysis and paper writing were carried out in December. The author mainly uses SPSS 22.0 and Excel as tools to conduct statistical analysis on the questionnaire data by dimensions. At the same time, it codes and inputs the data collected from classroom observation scale and semi-structured interview. Finally, the results are presented and discussed in the paper in the form of tables as well as figures.
Chapter Four Results and Discussion
This chapter will present the attitudes of teachers and students towards cooperative learning, the existing problems in grouping methods, content, time allocation, evaluation methods of cooperative learning and the main influencing factors of cooperative learning in junior high school English Teaching.
4.1Attitudes of Teachers and Students towards Cooperative Learning
In order to ascertain the attitudes of teachers and students towards cooperative learning, the author designs four questions in the questionnaire, two questions in the teachers' interview and one question in the students' interview.
Question 1 to question 4 from questionnaire aims to know students' attitude towards cooperative learning, the results of the data analysis are presented in Figure 4.1.
For question 1, we can see 15.43% of the students like learning English through
cooperative learning very much, 22.49% prefer learning English through cooperative learning, 7.21% are uncertain. But 37.20% of students don't like learning English through cooperative learning, 17.67% greatly dislike this way of learning.
Question 2 indicates that 17.11% of the students are very active in cooperative learning, 24.60% of the students are active in cooperative learning, 6.40% of the students are uncertain, but 37.44% of the students are not active in cooperative learning, and 14.45% of the students are very passive in cooperative learning.
Question 3 shows that 12.15% of the students express they are extremely willing to communicate with other members in cooperative learning, 27.11% of the students are willing to communicate with other members in cooperative learning, 5.94% of the students are uncertain. However, 37.94% of the students are unwilling to communicate with other members in cooperative learning, and 16.86% of the students are very reluctant to communicate with other members.
Question 4 means 14.24% of the students extremely agree that cooperative learning can make them learn English more efficiently, 28.32% of the students agree that cooperative learning can make them learn English more efficiently, 6.65% of the students are uncertain. But 38.03% of the students do not agree with view of cooperative learning can make them learn English more efficiently, 12.76% of the students highly disagree that cooperative learning can make them learn English more efficiently.
We can draw a conclusion based on the above results, 37.92% (15.43%+22.49%) of the students like to learn English through cooperative learning, but 54.87% (37.20%+17.67%) of the students don't like this way to learn English; 41.71% (17.11%+24.60%) of the students are active participants in cooperative learning while 51.89% (37.44%+14.45%) of the students cannot actively participate in cooperative learning; 39.26% (12.15%+27.11%) of the students show a positive willingness about communicating with other participants in cooperative learning, but 54.80% (37.94%+16.86%) of the students are unwilling to communicate with other members; Finally, 42.56% (14.24%+28.32%) of the students hold a view on cooperative learning can make them learn English more efficiently, while 50.79% (38.03%+12.76%) don't think so.
As for interview with students, when asked whether cooperative learning is beneficial to their English learning, only a few students believe it is profitable because they can solve problems which they cannot overcome by themselves. However, most students claim that sometimes it is helpful, but sometimes it is a waste of time for that they gather together to chat rather than solve problems. Besides, some students claim that they occasionally have a positive participation in group work which depends on the content. Because the content of cooperation is too easy to be worth discussing, while sometimes it's too difficult for everyone. Ariel, a twelve-year-old girl who is from Class 5 Grade 6 replies that cooperative learning is helpful to their English learning, but it has little effect, for that there are few difficulties that cooperative learning can solve in class, so they should solve the problems that won't be solved by themselves. However, when the teacher asks for group cooperation, they all get together, even though sometimes there is no cooperation at all. Based on the results of questionnaires and interviews, the students show an inactive attitude towards cooperative learning.
For teachers' attitude towards cooperative learning, the first two questions in the interview outline are about teachers' views on cooperative learning. All the teachers say that they know about cooperative learning method, but they are not trained systematically concerning it. Ann, who has seven years' teaching experiences replies that the school does not organize relevant training and her understanding of cooperative learning is still at a preliminary level, but sometimes she will learn from experienced teachers by listening to their classes and learn their methods. Julie, an English teacher in Grade 8 with twenty-one years' teaching age, reveals that under the request of the school, she will apply the learning method of cooperative learning to each class, but there is no obvious teaching effect. She thinks it is sometimes a form, which is a waste of time. Therefore, we can conclude that both novice teachers and experienced teachers do not take a proactive attitude towards cooperative learning.
Through class observation, we discover that whether in listening and speaking class or reading and writing class, teachers often set up cooperative learning links. In the process of cooperation, some groups are active, while others are silent. Take one listening and speaking class as an example. It is a class of listening and speaking from Grade 8. Before the role play, students are discussing the division of roles. Some groups are very harmonious whose members communicate with each other and finally reach an agreement, while two members of one group have conflicts and language attacks. Even in some groups, only one or two people are discussing, while other students just listen passively who are not in a state of cooperation outside the group discussion. This also shows that some students do not actively participate in cooperative learning and are separated from the task.
It can be summarized that the attitudes of teachers and students towards cooperative learning is not proactive.
4.2Problems of Cooperative Learning in English Teaching
In order to figure out the problems of cooperative learning in junior high school English teaching, the paper studies from four dimensions: group construction, cooperation content, time allocation and evaluation method, and designs relevant questions in questionnaires and interviews respectively. The data analysis is shown in the Figure 4.2-4.4.
4.2.1Grouping Methods of Cooperation
Reasonable grouping methods play a critical role in cooperative learning. Question 5-7 in the questionnaire is to investigate the grouping method of the cooperation. The results are shown in Figure 4.2.
For question 5, 5.23% of the students strongly agree that the groups are divided reasonably according to various factors, 12.59% of the students agree that the groups are divided reasonably according to various factors, and 7.12% of the students are uncertain. But 47.43% of the students strongly oppose that the groups are divided reasonably according to various factors, and 27.63% of the students disagree that the groups are divided reasonably according to various factors.
Date from question 6 indicates that 47.11% of the students completely agree that their group members are fixed, 45.09% of them agree that their group members are fixed and 0.40% of them are uncertain. However 3.16% of students do not think that their group members are fixed, and 4.24% completely disagree that their group members are fixed.
As for question 7, we can see that 2.51% of the students reach an agreement on clear division of cooperation within group members, 7.31% agree that group members have a clear division of cooperation. 0.94% of students say they are uncertain. And 59.38% of students do not think that their group members have a clear division of cooperation, 29.86% of them strongly disagree that their group members have a clear division of cooperation.
Through analysis from question 5 to question 7, we can conclude that only 17.82% (5.23% + 12.59%) of the students think grouping method in English classes is reasonable, while 75.06% (47.43% + 27.63%) of the students think their grouping method is unreasonable; 92.20% (47.11% + 45.09%) of the students agree their group members are fixed, and only 7.40% don't think so; 9.82% (2.51% + 7.31%) of the students believe there is a clear division of labor among group members. On the contrary, 89.24% (59.38% + 29.86%) think there is no clear division of labor among group members.
For interview, when asks teachers about the basis of grouping, most teachers answer that they mainly divide groups according to the seats, that is students sit in the front row form a group with students sit in the back row, which is also convenient for communication. Daniel, who is a classroom teacher and teaches English in Grade 8 reveal that the division of groups is based on the exam scores. Each group has top students and underachievers and they can achieve good results by helping each other. Although they take different methods to group, none of them takes students' interests, personality and learning ability into account, and do not integrate a variety of factors into the construction of groups.
For interview with students, when ask whether there is a definite division of work among the groups. Most of the students think that there is no specific division of labor in the group. When the teacher requires students to cooperate in groups, the group leader will organize discussion, and then the students who have good academic results will express their opinions. The rest of the students just listen passively, but there are still some students don't listen and do their own things. Terry, a boy in Class 9 Grade 8, says that even if sometimes the task is divided, some students don't do that, so that it is the responsibility of the group leader at the end of class. We can find out that most groups do not have a clear division of labor. It is precisely because they do not divide the responsibilities to everyone that some students drift away from cooperative learning and the cooperative effect is not obvious.
The outcomes of classroom observation are greatly consistent with the results of questionnaire and interview, which show that a group is composed of four students.
When the teacher asks for group cooperation, the two students sitting in front turn back for cooperative learning. In the process of cooperation, there is no clear division of tasks among team members. Whoever is more interested in the certain issue will occupy the dominant position, and the discussion is more casual. Take a reading and writing class as an example. It is from Unit 4 “What did you do last weekend?” of Grade 7. After reading the passage, the teacher sets a cooperative learning task: To divide the article into several parts in groups, and summarize the main idea of each part. Through the above discussion, most of the groups are organized by the group leader, and the members of several groups are free from the cooperation of the group, some gossip and some do what they want to do. These students do not know their roles and tasks, so they are in a free state. In addition, the long-term fixed group members make them more familiar with each other, thus increasing the opportunities for chatting. So we can conclude that grouping methods of cooperation are unreasonable.
4.2.2Content of Cooperation
Cooperation content that is interesting and be in line with students' ability can attract students' interest well. In order to investigate whether the selection of cooperation content is appropriate, the author set questions in the questionnaire and interview outline respectively. The data analysis is shown in Figure 4.3.
■ Q8 1 ■ Q8 2 ■ Q8 3 ■ Q8 4 ■ Q8 5 ■ Q9 1 ■ Q9 2 ■ Q9 3 ■ Q9 4 ■ Q9 5
Figure 4.3 Content of Cooperation
For question 8, 15.43% of students strongly believe that they are interested in the content of cooperative learning, 22.49% of the students think they are interested in the content of group cooperation. While 37.20% of the students do not think they are interested in the content of group cooperative learning, and 17.67% of the students strongly opposed their interest in the content of cooperative learning. In addition, 7.21% of the students are uncertain.
For question 9, 17.11% of the students show they can easily adapt to the difficulty of cooperative learning tasks, 24.60% say they can adapt to the difficulty of cooperative learning tasks. However, 37.44% of students think they cannot adapt to the difficulty of cooperative learning tasks, and 14.45% reveal they are completely unable to adapt to the difficulty of cooperative learning tasks. In addition, 6.40% of the students are uncertain.
We can conclude that 54.87% (37.20% + 17.67%) of the students are not interested in the content of cooperative learning, while only 37.92% (15.43% + 22.49%) of the students are interested in it; 51.89% (37.44% + 14.45%) of the students cannot adapt to the difficulty of cooperative learning tasks, and only 41.71% (17.11% + 24.60%) of the students can accept the difficulty of cooperative learning tasks. So we can believe that the selection of cooperative learning content is unreasonable in terms of difficulty as well as interest.
According to the teachers' interview results, the fourth question relates to the selection of cooperation content. When asked it, four teachers reply that when it comes to exploratory questions or difficulties, they will let the group carry out cooperative learning, such as: What's the main idea of this passage/paragraph? Or, let students continue to write the following part according to the above. Two teachers say they will let the group cooperate in the production part, such as role play. When asked whether they can consider students' interests, teachers say they rarely do that, because some students are not interested in any topic. Based on the above discussion, the teacher do not focus on the students and selects the most proper content according to the students' learning ability and interest when determining the cooperation task, but arranged it according to the requirements of the textbook.
By analyzing the results of students' interview, we can draw such a conclusion that the biggest difficulty encountered in cooperative learning for most of the students is that they are not interested in the content of cooperative learning. Hebe, a girl from Grade 7, answer: “Sometimes our tasks are too difficult, and even the students who study well in the group cannot understand it, and often we argue for a long time without results! While sometimes our cooperative tasks are too simple, such as, reading aloud in different roles by reading out from books.” Some students reveal that some group members do not cooperate or participate, which is also a big trouble.
From the results of classroom observation, in the process of cooperation, each group has students who do not participate in cooperative learning, passively waiting for the results and enjoy their success. In a reading and writing class in Grade 7, the author observes that after explaining an reading text in this unit, the teacher lets the groups work together to complete such a task: To extract a keyword from each paragraph to help to retell the content of the article. After the task is assigned, some groups do not start cooperative learning. Although some groups start, members find out different keywords and cannot reach an agreement. Most of the students in the class are confused. It was obvious that the task is more challenging for most of the students. To sum up, the selection of cooperation content is unreasonable.
4.2.3Time Allocation of Cooperation
Sufficient cooperative time can lay a solid foundation for effective cooperative learning. Therefore, the author designs three related questions in the questionnaire, and combined with classroom observation to explore whether the time allocation of cooperative learning is reasonable. The data analysis is shown in Figure 4.4.
Figure 4.4 Time Allocation of Cooperation
For question 10, 5.13% of the students strongly agree that they have enough independent thinking time before cooperation, and 12.59% agree that they have adequate independent thinking time before cooperation. But 45.35% of the students do not agree that they have enough time for independent thinking before cooperation, and 35.29% of the students do not agree that they have adequate time for independent thinking before cooperation. In addition, 1.64% of the students are uncertain.
Question 11, which is also relate the time allocation indicates that 17.00% of the students think that the communication time is very sufficient in cooperative learning, and 15.20% of the students believe that the communication time is sufficient in cooperative learning. While 39.66% of the students believe that the communication time in cooperative learning is insufficient, and 18.04% of the students think that the communication time in cooperative learning is very insufficient. In addition, 10.10% of the students are uncertain.
As for question 12, we can see 1.45% of the students think that their groups can always achieve the goal of cooperation, and 7.31% of the students believe that the group can sometimes achieve the goal of cooperation. While 56.81% of the students think that the group cannot achieve the cooperation goal sometimes, and 34.60% of the students hold that the group cannot achieve the cooperation goal. In addition, 0.46% of the students are uncertain.
In summary, 80.64% (45.35% + 35.29%) of the students hold that they do not have enough time for independent thinking before cooperation, and only 17.72% (5.13% + 12.59%) of the students think that they have enough time for independent thinking before cooperative learning; 57.70% (39.66%+18.04%) of the students deem that they have insufficient time to communicate with others, and only 32.20% (17.00%+15.20%) believe that they have enough time to communicate with others; 90.78% (56.18% + 34.60%) of the students cannot achieve the cooperative learning goal, and only 8.76% (1.45% + 7.31%) of the students' group could achieve the cooperative learning goal.
From the results of classroom observation, whether in listening and speaking class or reading and writing class, the cooperative learning time is too short, with an average of about 1 minute, so that many groups are often forced to end, resulting in no complete output in the feedback link, which dampens their enthusiasm. For example, in a listening and speaking class in Grade 6 with the title of “Is this your pencil?” The cooperative learning task is to ask the students to make requests in pairs and then ask some pairs of students to say their conversations to the class. The author finds that during the group discussion, although the teachers have been patrolling the classroom, some students were still inattentive, gossip and making petty actions. When cooperative learning is just lasted 1 minute and 3 seconds, the teacher announces that the time is up. And then asks to report, only one or two students in each group report the contents of the discussion in English with a few words as well as a single language structure. It can be seen that students do not complete cooperative learning because of the short time and
do not have good cooperative results.
4.2.4Evaluation Methods of Cooperation
Scientific and reasonable evaluation methods can also promote cooperative learning. The author sets up relevant questions respectively in the questionnaire and interview to explore whether the evaluation method is reasonable. The data analysis is shown in Figure 4.5.
For question 17, 15.53% of the students strongly agree that the teacher will give the opportunity to show the results of cooperation, and 10.29% of the students agree that the teacher will give the opportunity to show the results of cooperation. 38.43% of the students disagree that the teacher will give the opportunity to show the results of cooperation, and 35.29% of the students strongly disagree that the teacher will give the opportunity to show the results of cooperation. 0.46% of students are still uncertain.
It can be seen that 25.82% (15.53% + 10.29%) of students believe teachers will give opportunities to show the results of cooperation. On the contrary, most students (73.72%) don't think the teacher will give the groups opportunity to show, that is, the teacher can't give most of groups the opportunities to present the results of cooperation.
For question 18, 25.63% of the students think that “the teacher will evaluate the results of group cooperation” completely conform with actual situation, and 43.37% of the students believe that “the teacher will evaluate the results of group cooperation” is in line with the actual situation, 16.48% of the students deem that “the teacher will evaluate the results of group cooperation” is not in line with the actual situation, and 14.16% of the students think that “the teacher will evaluate the results of group cooperation” completely inconsistent with the actual situation. Besides, there are 0.36% of students uncertain.
Therefore, we can see that 69% (25.63% + 43.37%) of students agree with the statement that “teachers will evaluate the results of group cooperation”, only 30.64% (16.48% + 14.16%) of students believe teachers will not evaluate the results of group cooperation. That means, in class, teachers usually evaluate the results of cooperative learning.
Question 19 shows that 8.63% of the students strongly agree teachers will carry out evaluation among groups and 10.37% believe teachers will carry out evaluation among groups. On the other hand, 26.48% of students disagree teachers can carry out evaluation among groups and 54.16% of them strongly disagree with teachers can carry out evaluation among groups. There are still 0.36% of students not sure.
We can see 19% (8.63% + 10.37%) of the students hold that the teachers will carry out evaluation among groups, while most students (80.64%) hold that there is no evaluation of cooperative learning among groups.
Just like question 19, question 20 indicates that 18.46% (10.14% + 8.32%) of the students think that the teachers will conduct evaluation within groups, while 28.13% of the students do not think that the teachers will conduct evaluation within groups, and even 52.76% of the students completely disagree with it. This shows that 80.89% (28.13%+52.76%) of the students think that the evaluation link does not include the evaluation within the groups.
Through interviewing with six teachers, the author learns that after cooperative learning, teachers will give opportunities to groups to give feedback, and after that, teachers will evaluate the feedback with generally one or two sentences of praise or encouragement. When asked about the evaluation method, the answers of the five teachers are that due to the limited time, only teacher evaluation is used. But Ann, an English teacher from Grade 6 says that sometimes group evaluation is used. However, nine students mentioned in the interview that teacher's evaluation will play a certain role in improving cooperative learning, but sometimes the teacher simply evaluates a few sentences, does not provide suggestions for further cooperation, and there is no good normal example, so they don't know how to improve the situation. In addition, they also hope that teachers can use a variety of methods to assess, such as mutual evaluation within group, mutual evaluation between groups.
In a reading and writing class in Grade 8, the teacher asks to discuss in groups and then fill in the blanks of the article. During this period, the author finds that some groups have fierce discussions, argue with each other and hold their own opinions, while other groups laugh while talking, and some students don't communicate with others. In some groups, only one or two people talk, while the others remain silent. Finally, the teacher asks to report the results but the students' language organization is loose and disorganized. Then, the teacher simply comments on “Good job. Any volunteers?” and invites other groups to show that. Accordingly, students have not really achieved the effect of cooperative learning. The teacher doesn't guide the group to give a complete answer. To sum up, the evaluation method only includes teachers' evaluation, which is too monotonous and is not conducive to the long term development of students, so that the evaluation methods are unreasonable.
4.3Influencing Factors Cooperative Learning in English Teaching
This study mainly studies the factors affecting of cooperative learning from the aspects of teachers and students, and sets up related questions in the questionnaire and
4.3.1Factors of Teachers
As the organizer and supervisor of cooperative learning, teachers play a vital role in cooperative learning. The author designs corresponding questions in questionnaires and interviews, and to explore the factors affecting of teachers in combination with classroom observation. The data analysis is shown in Figure 4.6.
Figure 4.6 Factors of Teachers
For question 14, we can see 45.37% of the students strongly agree with poor discipline affects cooperative learning, 30.29% of the students agree that poor discipline affects cooperative learning, 0.96% of the students are uncertain and 18.23% of the students disagree with poor discipline affects cooperative learning, 5.15% of the students strongly disagree that poor discipline affects cooperative learning.
It can be concluded that 75.66% (45.37% + 30.29%) of the students recognize that there is a problem of poor discipline in cooperative learning. At the same time, it also reflects the problem of insufficient supervision of teachers in cooperative learning.
For question 15, 45.33% of the students strongly agree that teachers can supervise cooperative learning through walking around in class, 23.37% of the students agree that teachers can supervise cooperative learning through walking around in class, while 18.43% of the students do not agree with this view, and 12.41% of the students strongly opposed this view. In addition, 0.46% of the students expressed uncertainty.
From this question, we can conclude that most students (68.70%) think that teachers will walk around to supervise cooperative learning, but combined with the results of question 14, we can believe that although teachers can supervise cooperative learning, it is only a form. The teacher will not effectively supervise the group cooperation in the process of walking, but simply a waste of time. Poor supervision leads to poor discipline, which affects cooperative learning.
Through interviewing with teachers and combining with the outcomes of classroom observation, we can learn that teachers' ideas are not updated in real time, and the theory is not applied in practice well. Since the promotion of cooperative learning, most teachers have a certain understanding of the new “blood” of cooperative learning, but some teachers do not master the theoretical knowledge and skills of it. They just according to the requirements of the school and the education bureau, let each group member sit together, complete some simple tasks and discussions in classes, and check the completion after the discussion. Through the observation, we can see that there is only a single evaluation from teachers, and there is a lack of students' evaluation of themselves, evaluation within groups and evaluation between groups. Meanwhile, teachers' evaluation of students is relatively simple, just a few short compliments: “Good job! That's right. Not bad.”
Therefore, we can conclude that teachers do not grasp sufficient relevant theories of cooperative learning, and fail to effectively apply the theories of cooperative learning to classroom practice, resulting in unreasonable grouping, inappropriate content selection, unreasonable time allocation, single evaluation method and other problems.
4.3.2Factors of Students
As the main force of cooperative learning, the role of students in cooperative learning cannot be ignored. In order to explore the factors of students, the author designs relevant questions in the questionnaire and interview respectively. The data analysis is shown in Figure 4.7.
Figure 4.7 Factors of Students
For question 13, 48.73% of the students extremely agree that some students are unwilling to participate or some students over participate in cooperative learning; 30.21% of the students agree that some students are unwilling to participate or some students over participate in cooperative learning, and 20.80% (18.25% + 2.55%) do not agree that some students are unwilling to participate or some students over participate in cooperative learning. Besides, 0.26% of the students are not sure. Therefore, we can see that most students (78.94%) hold the view that some students are unwilling to participate or some students over participate in cooperative learning. This shows that there is a problem of unbalanced participation of members in group cooperation, and further reflects the lack of mutual cooperation awareness of students.
For question 14, 5.23% of the students believe they fully grasp the skills of cooperative learning, and 13.37% of the students think they grasp the skills of cooperative learning. In addition, 0.56% of the students are uncertain, 48.73% of the students think they do not master the skills of cooperative learning, and 32.11% of the students think they do not master the skills of cooperative learning fully. Therefore, we can see that 80.84% (48.73% + 32.11%) of the students think they have not fully mastered the skills related to cooperative learning.
In addition, when asked in the interview whether the students specifically learn related skills of cooperative learning, the students shake their heads. Most of the students reply, “No one teaches us what cooperation skills are or how to cooperate. The group leader who leads the cooperation and students who wants will express their views.” Lucy, a girl from Class 2 Grade 7, answers: “As the group leader, my understanding of the cooperation skill is to mobilize all members of the group to participate together and encourage everyone to communicate actively, but there are always students who do not participate, I am also very helpless and can only give the opportunity to others.”
Combined with the results of the questionnaire, it can be seen that students' lack of mastery of cooperation skills leads to the result of inefficient cooperation. Unbalanced participation will allow some students to take undue advantage of loophole in cooperation. For example, some students will take advantage of opportunities to chat, do activities unrelated to class, and even undermine discipline of cooperation.
Through class observation, the imbalance of team members' participation in the process of cooperation is also an obvious problem. Taking the group dialogue in group cooperative learning as an example, some students have a good level of knowledge, positive attitude and have been speaking freely; On the contrary, some students do not have a solid grasp of knowledge and resist communication. Over time, “cooperative learning” has nothing to do with them. For those students who do not participate, it is easier to expose their carelessness when completing learning tasks independently. It is safe to escape learning responsibilities under the cover of groups. This situation usually occurs in relatively loose groups. In such groups, students have nothing to do, so some students not only passively escape, but also deliberately make mischief and create trouble to interfere with the smooth development of the group.
To sum up, students' lack of mutual cooperation awareness and cooperation skills lead to unbalanced participation and low efficiency for cooperative learning.
Chapter Five Conclusion
This chapter will present a summary of the attitudes of teachers and students towards cooperative learning, the existing problems in grouping methods, content, time allocation, evaluation methods of cooperative learning and the main factors affecting cooperative learning in junior high school English Teaching. Secondly, it puts forward some pedagogical implications. Finally, the limitations of this paper and suggestions for future study will be discussed.
5.1 Major Findings
This study mainly explores the following three questions with the help of research methods: The attitudes of teachers and students towards cooperative learning; the existing problems in grouping methods, content, time allocation, evaluation methods of cooperative learning and the main factors affecting cooperative learning in junior high school English Teaching. Findings are summarized from these three dimensions.
(1)The attitudes of teachers and students towards cooperative learning are passive. Specifically, teachers passively carry out cooperative learning according to the requirements of schools and textbooks, instead of on the basis of the actual needs of students.
(2)The problems existing in cooperative learning have also been exposed. Specific problems include unreasonable grouping methods; inappropriate selection of cooperation content; insufficient allocation of cooperation time; single evaluation method.
(3)The factors affecting cooperative learning mainly include two aspects. For one thing, teachers lack the learning of relevant theories of cooperative learning and fail to effectively combine theory with practice, which leads to problems in grouping, content, time, evaluation and so on. For another, students lack the sense of mutual cooperation and the necessary cooperation skills, which contribute to vicious competition, unfair participation and other problems, and finally leads to the low efficiency of cooperative learning.
Constructivism holds that knowledge is not only obtained by others, but also by themselves. Therefore, this paper presents implications for both teachers and students.
5.2.1Implications for Teachers
Teachers should strengthen the mastery and understanding of relevant theories of cooperative learning, systematically learn relevant knowledge, actively participate in training, and effectively combine theoretical learning with teaching practice.
(1)Group scientifically according to the principle of “heterogeneity in the same group and homogeneity in different groups”, change the group regularly and clarify the tasks of group members. In group cooperation, students should be grouped reasonably according to the essential elements of cooperative learning, which include the positive interdependence, face-to-face communication, individual responsibility, interpersonal and group skills (D.W. Johnson, R.T. Johnson 2005). To realize “the same layer between groups and heterogeneity within groups”. At first, the diversity of group forms is an important factor affecting the effect of cooperation. Teachers can establish three forms of cooperative groups: base group, formal group and informal group (Bejarano, 1987). Secondly, teachers should consider students' academic performance, gender and personality characteristics when building groups, that is, abide by the principle of “heterogeneity within groups and homogeneity between groups”. When determining the size of the team, the following elements are generally considered: cooperation time, cooperation tasks, and acquisition of materials and equipment. At the same time, team members must clarify the division of labor to avoid undisciplined phenomena in the process of cooperation. In English cooperative learning, group members can be divided into the following roles: recorder, speaker, observer, host and so on. The determination of specific roles also needs to consider the nature of cooperative tasks, the level of students and other factors, and it can exercise students' comprehensive ability through reasonable arrangement or appropriate role transformation. By building stable and diverse groups, it helps to create a rich and real learning collective that makes students as learners full of vitality. Only by dividing students into groups with similar levels can we establish a solid foundation for effective cooperative learning, so as to stimulate group members to actively communicate and cooperate effectively.
(2)Select the cooperation content with appropriate difficulty and interest of students, mobilize the participation of all staff and give full cooperation time. Specifically, teachers should combine students' actual English level and the characteristics of teaching content to choose topics that students are interested in and that students can use their existing English knowledge to further explore with a little difficulty. Teachers need to know the students' preview of this course in advance, accurately record the students' problems, so as to prepare enough materials for lesson preparation, design the contents to be discussed in the group in advance, and select the topics closely related to the learned modules, so as to guide students to master relevant knowledge when participating in the discussion. For topics unfamiliar to students, teachers need to provide reference materials in advance or widely collect relevant media materials, master the time and specific links of group cooperation activities, and determine the content to be taught. Although they cannot interfere with cooperation activities too much, they can guide and encourage some groups (Robert 2011). In addition, in the process of group cooperative learning, teachers must give students time to think and discuss fully, paying attention to students' learning progress at all times, and timely give help and cognitive guidance to make everyone clear their tasks, so as to cooperate efficiently. Besides, fair participation is the key to the success of cooperative learning. In order to create a physical and psychological environment for cooperative learning, teachers can work with students to make rules for cooperative learning, try to avoid the use of mandatory words, such as “no”, and use more positive words. Then write these rules and conventions into beautiful posters and paste them on the wall. At this time, teachers should complete according to the opinions of students, so it must be a clause that everyone can abide by and accept. Therefore, when seeing posters, students can consciously regulate their behavior and maintain good classroom discipline. In short, teachers should reasonably choose the content of cooperative learning according to the actual situation of students and teaching material. The content should not only arouse students' interest, but also have a certain difficulty, which must be within the students' zone of proximal development.
(3)Use a variety of evaluation methods to establish a scientific evaluation system. Evaluation plays a dominate role in cooperative learning, and students' subjectivity should be fully reflected in the evaluation process (Loy, 2016). Accordingly, there should be not only teachers' evaluation, but also students' self-evaluation, evaluation within groups and evaluation between groups. Based on the investigation, teachers are often dominant the whole activity process in the evaluation part resulting in the passive position of students. However cooperative learning advocates initiative. Not only teachers can evaluate, but also students can evaluate each other. Students' individual evaluation is the evaluation of their performance in cooperative learning by themselves. The process of self-evaluation is also the process of self-reflection. Individual assessment can make members more clearly understand their shortcomings, so as to correct and improve cooperative skills further. Mutual evaluation within a group means that members of a group evaluate each other, which can promote communication among group members, standardize cooperative behavior and strengthen the cohesion of the group. In this process, group members cannot only summarize some effective learning and social experience, but also analyze the problems and reasons in cooperative learning. Therefore, students can strengthen the right of self-management in cooperative learning, and the group has enough time and space for self-evaluation. It is helpful for teachers to timely guide each group to exchange their own experience and feeling, so as to promote the development of the whole class. Mutual evaluation between groups refers to the evaluation between different groups. When a group achieves the learning objectives and
tasks, other groups have the right to make their own judgment on the performance of the group and give corresponding opinions, which is profitable to learn from each other's strengths and making progress together. In conclusion, in the process of cooperative learning, teachers should adopt reasonable evaluation methods according to the actual situation, so as to increase students' interest and self-confidence and stimulate students' enthusiasm in learning English, to activate the atmosphere within class and improve the efficiency of learning. At the same time, in the process of practice, teachers should carry out research, strive to explore, and constantly supplement and improve relevant measures in combination with teaching practice, so as to improve the objectiveness and effectiveness of evaluation of cooperative learning.
In short, cooperative learning, as a creative new learning model, is widely used in the teaching process. The application of this teaching model can give better play to students' learning enthusiasm. If teachers do not seriously organize, strictly monitor and effectively evaluate, cooperative learning is likely to become a form and appear the phenomenon of “false cooperation”. The existence of formalization will only waste time and eliminate the enthusiasm of students, which cannot achieve the due effect and meet the requirements of teaching objectives.
5.2.1Implications for Students
As the main force of cooperative learning, students should strengthen the awareness of mutual cooperation, master the necessary cooperative skills and cultivate a positive attitude towards cooperation. Specifically, think independently before cooperation, communicate effectively during cooperation, and reflect and summarize after cooperation.
(1)The main reason why students lack the awareness of mutual cooperation in cooperative learning is that students lack preparation for cooperation. Actually, everyone is not independent and needs to be responsible for the learning tasks of other members. They need to rely on the assistance and support of other members to complete their learning tasks (Li Baiqin 2018). For most students, there is no opportunity to cooperate with others from family life to school life. On this foundation, together with that parents and teachers do not pay much attention to the cultivation of students' sense of cooperation, students' preparation for cooperation is relatively scarce. Therefore, in order to make cooperation effective, students must be fully prepared for cooperation. Students should accept and recognize cooperative learning psychologically, because cooperation can meet our needs for communication and safety, promote and inspire our creativity, and make them have more courage to face difficulties and setbacks (Plott 2000). With this psychological foundation, students will have strong emotional support, and the conduction of cooperative learning will be more effective. In addition to psychological preparation, students should also think independently before cooperative learning. First of all, after the question raised by teachers, students carry on the short independent thinking, which helps the student fully understand the question; Secondly, after independent thinking, students can find their doubts, which is convenient for group discussion; Thirdly, students discuss with questions, which can improve the efficiency of discussion, save valuable time in class, and avoid some students not participating in the discussion within groups to a certain extent. Therefore, independent thinking before cooperation is necessary, which can achieve twice the result with half the effort.
(2)Students have different attitudes towards cooperative learning, resulting in the imbalance of participation in the cooperative process. It mainly reflects that some students who have strong learning ability and performance desire and are outgoing, have more opportunities for cooperation and communication in activities; While other students who have poor learning ability, weak desire for performance and introverted personality, have less opportunities to cooperate and communicate with others in activities. Even some students do not participate in activities of cooperation and exchange at all which makes cooperation inefficient (Nasir 2018). The best solution is to clarify the tasks of group members, and set up organizers, recorders, speakers, etc. to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate. In addition, we should also pay attention to rotation and let students try to be responsible for different tasks, which is also conducive to the development of individuals and groups as a whole. More importantly, students should communicate with each other rather than just listen to the leader. Language practice is a communication activity between people. It is a process in which language practitioners cooperate, participate, help, encourage and promote each other (Wermette 2012). Consequently, students have fair opportunities to express and participate in the process of cooperation. Only with mutual respect and real participation can we perceive, experience and repeatedly practice the knowledge learned in the process of activities until we fully master it.
(3)Students' reflection on cooperative learning refers to the concrete manifestation of students' continuous supervision and evaluation of cooperative process, methods and results. Cognitivism holds that “Learning is the reorganization of perception.” The reorganization needs constant reflection and summary in order to reconstruct new knowledge. At the same time, reflective learning is also the embodiment of the concept of “student-centered” advocated by the English Curriculum Standards. Reflective learning is also a manifestation of active learning, turning learning into a process of active, independent, constantly generating and developing (Zarei 2018). Reflection is not a simple review, but an interactive process of experience and thinking. Students can reflect on cooperative learning in the following ways: Firstly, establish reflection archives. The so-called refection archives mainly include students' daily homework, activity works, etc. Students independently choose the materials of refection archives, and reflect on their learning process and learning effectiveness from their own works through analysis, sorting, induction and evaluation. Secondly, carry on self-description. Students record learning logs in English which is not limited to format and content. It can be a flash of thought in students' mind or an unsolvable problem. Or two top students write letters to each other for learning and communication, but they must be required to write in English. Finally, hold a meeting for communication. Communicating with others can be helpful for students to make an objective and comprehensive assessment of themselves, to find out problems existing in learning content, learning motivation and learning methods through discussion with others, and make targeted corrections, which is of great necessity in advancing the development of students' meta-cognitive ability.
5.3Limitations and Suggestions for Future Study
Due to the limitation of the investigation environment, this research is only carried out in one high school and lasts only for 4 months. Although it has certain representativeness, it also lacks certain universality. Meanwhile, if the research can continue for a longer time, the results of the research may be richer and more authentic. Meanwhile, because of the limited academic level, there are still some problems, such as whether the extension of cooperation time is effective and the extent to which cooperative learning can improve students' academic performance, which need further empirical research.
Therefore, researches on cooperative learning in the future should focus on the effectiveness of cooperative learning, such as the most suitable length of cooperative learning, and how to adjust the cooperative way in time to promote students' learning, rather than just care about the form. We can believe that the exploration of cooperative learning will be more abundant and perfect in the future.
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