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2015大练兵教学论文The Application of Cooperative Learning in English Teaching in Junior High School
编辑:东升小学周秋凤 发布时间:2015-06-26 【 】【打印】 阅读次数:3339

 

 

 

The Application of Cooperative Learning in English Teaching in Junior High School

合作学习在初中英语教学中的应用

 

合肥市东升小学

周秋凤

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Application of Cooperative Learning in English Teaching in Junior High School

ABSTRACT

“The international council on education in the 21st century” presented the report the Education ------ Wealth embedded at the United Nations educational, scientific and cultural organization working conference in Paris in April, 1996. The report put forward “learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together, learning to be”, the four pillars of modern education. Learning to live together means learning to cooperate. So learning to cooperate is one of the pillars of the 21st century, which highlights the importance of cooperative learning. Through the study of literature at home and abroad and the new curriculum standard, the author concludes that the implementation of the teaching strategy of the cooperative learning can cultivate the students' language skills and develop the students' comprehensive language ability. It can also help to create more opportunities for students to experience, practice, participate, cooperate and communicate. However, with the application of the cooperative learning, its shortcomings expose themselves gradually. For example, the class atmosphere seems active, while the class effect is not ideal. During two months of practice, the author used cooperative learning in class. At the same time, the author observed class teaching and talked with teachers. As a result, the author analyzed and summarized the existing deficiencies and countermeasures in the cooperative learning. It proves that rational subgroups, flexible division of work, clear tasks, control of the difficulty, establishment of scientific evaluation mechanism, and coordination, stimulation and monitoring roles of teachers in cooperative learning are particularly important.   

 

Key words: cooperative learning; deficiencies; reasonable subgroups; teachers’ role

 

合作学习在初中英语教学中的应用

摘要

“国际21世纪教育委员会”于19964月在巴黎召开的联合国教科文组织工作会议上提交的《教育------财富蕴含其中》的报告中提出:学会认知,学会做事,学会共同生活,学会生存是现代教育的四大支柱。由于学会合作是面向21世纪的教育支柱之一,这也更加突出了合作学习的重要性。通过对国内外文献资料的研究和对于新课程标准的学习,笔者认为合作学习这一教学策略的实施能培养学生实际运用语言的技能,创造更多机会让学生体验、实践、参与、合作与交流,发展学生的综合语言运用能力。但随着合作教学在实际中的应用,其不足之处渐渐暴露出来,如看似活跃的课堂气氛之下,课堂效果却不尽理想。笔者通过两个月的实习,在课堂运用小组合作学习,同时通过观察和与教师们交谈,分析总结了小组合作学习中存在的问题及对策,事实证明合理分组、灵活分工、明确任务、把握难度、建立科学的评价机制以及教师协调、激发、监控等角色在小组合作学习中尤为重要。

 

关键词:合作学习;不足之处;合理分组;教师角色

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contents

1. Introduction. 1

1.1. Rationale and significance. 1

1.2. Outline of the thesis. 1

2. Literature Review.. 2

2.1. Definition of cooperative learning. 2

2.2. The study on cooperative learning abroad. 3

2.3. The study on cooperative learning at home. 3

3. Ways to implement effective cooperative learning. 4

3.1. Some of the deficiencies existing in the cooperative learning practice. 4

3.2. The scientific and reasonable ways of the application of cooperative learning in English teaching  5

3.2.1. Reasonable grouping is the precondition of cooperative learning. 5

3.2.2. Flexible division of work. 6

3.2.3. Controling the difficulty. 6

3.2.4. Establishing scientific evaluation system.. 7

3.2.5. Teachers’ assistance is the key to the success of cooperative learning. 8

4. Conclusion. 8

4.1. The main research results. 8

4.2. The insufficiency of the present study and suggestions for future research. 9

References. 10

Acknowledgements. 11

Appendix A.. 12

Appendix B.. 13


1. Introduction

1.1. Rationale and significance

Cooperative learning is an ancient concept and practice of education. It’s a kind of creative teaching theory and strategy which is widely used in many countries in the world. And it was praised as the most important and successful teaching reform on account of its effectiveness. "It is said that we learn knowledge from the following ways: 10% of what we read; 20% of what we hear; 30% of what we see; 50% of what we both see and hear; 70% of what is discussed with others; 80% of what we experience personally; 95% of what we teach someone else. Therefore, the students should engage themselves in learning if they want to master the knowledge. Besides, learning doesn’t take place in a vacuum. Everything you know and will learn comes from your interaction with the outside world. And the interaction often takes place between you and one or more people. You learn from listening to them, reading what they write, observing them, and trying what they do". (Carol Carter, 2001) A synthesis of research about cooperative learning finds that cooperative learning strategies improve the achievement of students and their interpersonal relationships. "In 67 studies of the achievement effects of cooperative learning 61% found significantly greater achievement in cooperative groups than traditionally taught control groups. Positive effects were found in all major subjects, all mark levels, in urban, rural, and suburban schools, and for high, average, and low achievers". (Slavin, 1991) Moreover, "when students work cooperatively together, they show increased participation in group discussion, demonstrate a more sophisticated level of discourse, engage in fewer interruptions when others speak, and provide more intellectually valuable contribution". (Gillies, 2006)

1.2. Outline of the thesis

This thesis includes four parts. The first chapter is introduction, introducing the rationale and significance, research questions and outline of the thesis. The second chapter is literature review, introducing the definition and connotation of cooperative learning and the study on cooperative learning abroad and at home. The third chapter is ways to implement effective cooperative learning. It aims to analyze the existing deficiencies and countermeasures in cooperative learning in English teaching in junior high school. The last chapter is the research conclusion. At the same time, the author will discuss the insufficiency of the current research and thinking for further research.

2. Literature Review

2.1. Definition of cooperative learning

"Cooperation is working together to accomplish shared goals." (Johnson & Johnson, 1989) According to Kagan S. (1995), cooperative learning is defined as "group learning activities organized so that learning is dependent on the socially structured exchange of information between learners in groups and in which each learner is held accountable for his or her own learning and is motivated to increase the learning of others."

Wang Tan is one of our country's education scholars who studies cooperative learning. He defines cooperative learning as following, "cooperative learning takes Modern Sociology, Sociology of Teaching, Cognitive Psychology and Modern Education Technology as its theoretical basis, developing and making use of the interpersonal relationships in the classroom as the basic point, object design as the guide, full interactive cooperation as the basic power, class teaching as the leading structure, group activities as the basic teaching form, group scores as the evaluation standard, a standard reference evaluation as the basic means. He takes the view that the ultimate goal of cooperative learning is improving the students' academic performance, enhancing the social psychological atmosphere within the class and forming students' good psychological quality and social skills. He also believes that short time, high efficiency, low consumption, happiness are the basic quality of cooperative learning. Cooperative learning is the unification of a series of teaching activities." Wang Tan2001

According to the cooperative learning experts throughout the world, the connotation of cooperative learning content involves at least the following several aspects: 1) cooperative learning is a kind of teaching activity which takes group activities as the main body; 2) cooperative learning is a kind of cooperation and mutual assistance between partners; 3) cooperative learning is a goal-directed activity; 4) cooperative learning takes overall scores in groups in the process of achieving the goal as reward basis; 5) the teacher assigns the learning tasks and controls the process of teaching.

2.2. The study on cooperative learning abroad

In the west, as early as in the 1st century, the ancient Roman Quintilian school of thought pointed out that the students could benefit from teaching each other. In the 1970s, there were three independent research groups in the United States undertaking the research and development of cooperative learning in a classroom situation. They got inspiration from teaching practice such as group teaching and ability grouping teaching. They got theoretical basis from the social psychology, and initially formed some cooperative learning strategies (such as the "team - game - competition"). By the mid 80 s, the theory of cooperative learning came into being, and its influence also gradually expanded. Cooperative learning researchers proposed many effective learning strategies from various kinds of experimental research (such as "group division based on students’ grades", "team assisting individuals", "group survey method", "cutting and splicing method", "learning together", etc.). Cooperative learning started to become a very promising teaching style. Now, cooperative learning has been widely applied in the middle and primary schools’ teaching in the United States, Canada, Israel, Germany, Britain, Australia, the Netherlands, Japan and other countries. It has a positive effect on improving the social psychological atmosphere of the classroom, enhancing student's academic achievement and promoting students to form good non-cognitive quality. Cooperative learning has entered the stage of development with related education theory. The concept of cooperation began to infiltrate into all aspects of the school. (Yang Xiaofang, 2011)

2.3. The study on cooperative learning at home

According to written records, the idea of cooperation in education can be traced back to the earliest classical education classics the Note of Learning. It says: "who studies alone ends up with no friends and will be ignorant." It advocates students to learn together and exchange experience with each other in the process of learning, in order to increase the efficiency of learning. In 2001, the state council’s decision on the elementary education reform and developmentspecially mentioned the cooperative learning. It attached great importance on cooperative learning, and pointed out the significance of encouraging cooperative learning and promoting the exchange and common progress between students.

Wang Tan (2005) in the theoretical basis analysis of the cooperative learning puts forward that cooperative learning theory mainly comes from psychology and social disciplines. It mainly includes social interdependence theory, development theory, motivation theory, cognitive refined theory, theory of contact, etc. Moreover,  he concludes Slavin’s cooperative learning theory model into two main types: 1. motivation theory; 2. cognitive theory, mainly including the development theory and cognitive refined theory. (Wang Tan, 2005)

    Jin Yule proposes that the philosophy foundation, sociology foundation, psychology foundation and pedagogy foundation of the cooperative learning affect each other and provide practice guide for cooperative learning together. (Jin Yule, 2005)

3. Ways to implement effective cooperative learning

3.1. Some of the deficiencies existing in the cooperative learning practice

In the author’s internship, she listened to lectures and observed the behavior of students and teachers. Plus her cooperative learning teaching practice and interaction with the teachers, the author finds the following deficiencies in the teaching of cooperative learning:

(1) Students’ participation is unbalanced. Through observation the author finds out that the cooperative learning can increase the students’ opportunities to participate in activities, but each team member doesn’t posses equal chance to participate or speak. Some students are accustomed to be audience, so they seldom or never express their personal opinions.

(2) The implementation of different roles in cooperative learning is not adequate. Teachers often divide groups at random, and they rarely consider the ability, gender, and the balance of individual differences of the members of the group. The rotation of the division of work is insufficient. Therefore, outstanding students become permanent presenter.

(3) The students don't have adequate time for cooperative learning. There are only 45 minutes in a class. In order to catch up, instead of giving students enough time to think and discuss, the teacher usually rush to the next step.

(4) Students can't take an active part in cooperative learning. When cooperative learning activities are ongoing, sometimes it is very quiet in the classroom. Many students stay in the level of independent learning. They don’t really devote themselves to the discussion and cooperation. Therefore, the advantages of group cooperative learning can’t show itself, which apparently doesn’t achieve the anticipative effect.

(5) The teacher can not evaluate the students comprehensively or in a timely manner. Many teachers only evaluate the outcome of the cooperation, but they do not give any comments on the cooperation process. Or they only evaluate the group, not group members. In addition, some teachers can’t evaluate student's cooperative learning in time, which results in a decline in the enthusiasm of the students in cooperative learning.

3.2. The scientific and reasonable ways of the application of cooperative learning in English teaching

3.2.1. Reasonable grouping is the precondition of cooperative learning

Students who studies alone end up with no friends and will be ignorant. This sentence reveals the importance of cooperation in the process of learning. A clear division of work helps to improve the efficiency of cooperation is the premise to improve the quality of learning. "Homogeneity between groups and heterogeneity within groups" is a way of autonomous learning activities with certain convergence under the common learning goal. And it can be combined with class teaching content organically before class, in class and after class. It can also reduce the psychological barriers of the communication caused by temporary grouping in the classroom. (Wang Fang, 2011)

Miss Zhou Chunhong did a very good job in this part. She explains her ways of grouping in this way, "the class I take this year is in Grade 9, a total of 68 students. I happened to be the teacher in charge. Given the situation that the class size is big and students are of normal level, I pay attention to students' subject advantage, gender, character and ability during the grouping. After careful thinking and repeated comparison, I decide to divide this class into 11 groups (each group of 6 people, 7 people in the other two groups). It helps carry out cooperative learning activities. And then I choose some excellent students as leaders who possess highly moral virtue, great grade, positive personality, fluent expression. After that I gather them to attend the group leader meeting, in order to make sure that they know leader’s responsibility clearly and how to organize the group members effectively in the cooperative learning.

Choosing team members is very important. A basic principle is to ensure that no matter which subject it is, there are students to drive up the group. It's necessary to try to bridge the gap between teams. Once established, the group members had better not be changed easily. Then the group adopts the leader responsibility system and get the group a competitive and personalized name, such as 'To be number one', 'We are ready', etc. At the same time, group members should determine the group discipline and targets. Finally I collect and post them in the class. That can help groups know each other better. It’s helpful to facilitate competitive learning activities". (Zhou Chunhong, 2013

3.2.2. Flexible division of work

 To further motivate the sense of responsibility, team members must have flexible division of work. Leaders can be appointed to be a specific subject leader. Some schoolmates who are good at record can bear recorder. Some classmates who are good at speaking can be the spokesman for this team. Only in this way can fully arouse the enthusiasm and participation of each student, and fully exert his or her own specialty. Of course, the division of work is not static, it will change according to the specific situation. The division of work ensures that every student has something to do in the discussion and can get others' recognition. It also makes the classroom atmosphere actively and improves the learning effect greatly.

3.2.3. Controlling the difficulty

Before the distribution of group tasks, teachers must have a comprehensive grasp of students' actual level. Within the scope of their abilities, group members can solve problems through discussion and cooperation, so as to let them harvest something and have a sense of achievement. For example, in the author’s practice, when it comes to the explanation of the examination paper, the author will have an overall analysis of the paper according to item’s score to determine which part need the teacher to explain and which part can be solved by the students autonomously. The author also classifies the single selection, such as the discrimination of words' meaning, the tense and voice questions, communicative language, modal verbs, and etc. And then the author will determine the approach of explanation according to the score situation. Generally words' meaning questions (including the discrimination of words and phrases) are not easy for students, but students can resolve this kind of questions through discussion and checking reference books themselves, which is even better than the teacher’s explanation. At the time of display, students can deepen the understanding of these words through comparison, classification and examples. It can also cause the resonance of other groups. Other groups can share different ideas, which can cause the thinking collision between groups and deepen their impression and achieve a satisfactory effect. And, of course, if the arrangement of task is too difficulty, or even beyond the student's knowledge and language ability, there will be silence or confusion. Students even can't communicate. It's not only a waste of the time, but also fails to reach the purpose of cooperative learning. Meanwhile, students lose the enthusiasm of the discussion, and the efficiency of the class is greatly reduced.

3.2.4. Establishing scientific evaluation system

Flexible application of a variety of teaching methods in English teaching is necessary to the teacher. And teachers should turn score-oriented evaluation mechanism to process-oriented, in order to emphasize the meaning and value of learning activity itself.

    (1) Mutual assessment mechanism among group members. In the cooperative learning, the whole group work together for common tasks, and complete the division of the tasks at the same time. They will give mutual evaluation according to that. They can also deepen the understanding of others, and evaluation will be more comprehensive and objective.

(2) Mutual assessment mechanism among groups. The new competition mechanism of cooperation within the group and competition between groups can promote the mutual evaluation between the groups, can help students learn from each other, complement each other, and improve the learning efficiency and teaching quality.

3.2.5. Teachers’ assistance is the key to the success of cooperative learning

The new curriculum reform advocates taking the development of students as the center, and the students as the main body in classroom. It doesn't mean to ignore the dominant function of teachers. Teachers are guides and leading roles in the classroom. In the cooperative learning, the teachers must learn to change teaching roles and teaching ideas. They should turn from absolute authority into a member of the investigation group. They should also provide advice and assistance for students at any time, and bear the burden of coordination, inspiration, and monitoring role. The most important of all is that teachers should pay attention to the improvement of the evaluation mechanism. They can establish a perfect, reasonable and special evaluation mechanism which can stimulate the learning enthusiasm of the group members. And the author has talked about it in the previous section.

It is helpful to promote students’ enthusiasm and confidence. Praise such as "Your oral English is very good", "Your group is the best" can make students feel the teacher's affirmation of their cooperation, and experience the joy of success.

For example, in the class of the topic "classroom", the author asks the students to design classrooms for students from Hope Project. The author explains the task clearly and offers help when it is needed. When the groups present the classrooms they design, the author gives them encouragement and asks the whole class to applaud for them.

4. Conclusion

4.1. The main research results

In the author's internship period, the author listens to a lot of good teachers' lectures which use cooperative learning. Through communication with other teachers and personal teaching practice, the author deeply realizes that cooperation learning improves the class atmosphere, consolidate and enhance the peer relationship, solve the psychological barriers and shyness of students' language learning, and improve students' learning interest. For example, in the class more students raise their hands frequently. They talk a lot when they do the cooperative learning work, and their homework is better. Cooperative learning mode can stimulate students' enthusiasm and passion of learning. The students become the study master, and their consciousness of cooperative learning is strengthened. Students' scores greatly increase by helping each other to learn.

At the same time we need to confront the shortcomings in cooperative learning. Rational subgroups, flexible division of work, clear tasks, control of the difficulty, establishment of scientific evaluation mechanism, and coordination, stimulation and monitoring roles of teachers in cooperative learning are particularly important.

4.2. The insufficiency of the present study and suggestions for future research

The use of cooperative learning in the two months of the author's internship can be said to be "predecessors plant trees and descendants enjoy cool." The students are already familiar with the cooperative learning under the guidance of the teacher in charge and other teachers, so the author can use the cooperative learning easily in class. Apart from the author's teaching practice, the observation and conversation with the teachers are important methods for the study. In the future, the author will continue to complement and perfect the study of cooperative learning, and exert its maximum effect.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

[1]Carol Carter, 2001 Keys to Effective Learning[M], second edition. Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458.P178-181

[2]Gillies,2006 R. Gillies, Teachers’ and Students’ verbal behaviors during cooperative and small-group learning[J], British Journal of Educational Psychology 76, pp. 271-287.

[3]Kagan, S. 1995. We Can Talk: Cooperative Learning in the Elementary ESL Classroom[M]. ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics Washington DC.

[4]Slavin, R.E., 1991. Synthesis of research on cooperative learning[J]. Educational

Leaderships, 48, P71-82.

[5]Johnson, D.W. and Johnson R.T., 1989 Cooperation and Competition: Theory and Research[J]. Asia Pacific Journal of Education

[6]靳玉乐. 合作学习 [M]. 成都:四川教育出版社2005:85.

[7]王芳芳.小组合作学习英语课堂教学案例分析与思考 [J]. 中国科教创新导刊.  2011.

[8]王坦. 合作学习的理论基础简析 [J]. 课程·教材·教法. 2005 (1).

[9]王坦. 合作学习:原理与策略 [M]. 学苑出版社 2001年版,第11.

[10]杨小芳. 初中英语小组合作学习有效性研究 [D]. 南京:南京师范大学,2011.

[11]周春红. 浅谈小组合作学习在高中英语课堂中的运用 [J]. 文理导航 201322.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgements

This thesis can be completed smoothly owing to many people’s help. First of all, I would like to express my sincere thanks to those teachers who gave me lectures with their wonderful teaching styles and charming personality which make me long-life benefits. Secondly, I would like to express my deep respect and sincere thanks to my supervisor Miss Tan, who solves my puzzles and instructs me to adjust the thesis patiently. It is her intellectual suggestions and strict requirements that help me complete this thesis successfully. I am also grateful to my internship guide teacher Mr Liu who helps me to find the direction of the thesis and gives me a lot of help and guidance during my internship. Besides, I would like to say thanks to my lovely students who always respond actively in my class. Finally, my deep gratitude goes to my familes who give me encouragement and support as always!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix AExcerpts from the Interview

The author interviewed several teachers and students about their opinions on cooperative learning. And the following are some excerpts from the interview:

刘老师

小组合作学习是将来的一个趋势,你可以往这方面再深入挖掘一下,以后你当老师了,不妨在班上搞这方面的研究。当然,要搞好也不容易,从分组到组内分工,教师都要悉心指导,也要分清什么时候用小组合作最好,什么时候可以不用

班主任周老师

从初一我就给同学们分成了小组合作学习的组,事实证明,这对各科教学都有很大便利,同学们学习劲头十足,互相影响,共同进步

同学1

班主任从初一就给我们分好组进行小组合作学习了,我们班座位是要轮换的,我们都是小组一起搬的,偶尔班主任也会根据具体情况让小组成员小小变化一下

同学2

我是属于那种听但不发言的,但是进行小组合作大家有明确分工,而且还经常变化,每个人都会轮到发言,我现在上课也有点喜欢发言了

同学3

合作学习对于我们的学习应该说还是有帮助的。个人的能力有限,在遇到困难的时候从同学那里得到适当的帮助可以解决自己困惑的问题,扫除学习的障碍

同学4

开展合作学习可以充发挥团队的作用,来解决单兵作战无法完成的困难任务,同时在解决问题的过程中又让每个成员的能力得以提升

同学5

每个人都有自己的学习方法,在开展合作学习的过程中,大家可以集思广益,智慧共享,让每个参与的人都学会更多的学习方法和策略,从而大大提高自己的学习效率

同学6

我们都知道开展合作学习对自己很有用,但在实际上总是不尽人意,起到的实际作用并不时那么明显,也许是我们不善于正确合理地开展合作学习吧。希望老师能多指导我们如何科学地开展合作学习

同学7

更容易使同学参与进来,增添了课堂的活跃性,提高同学们的积极性

同学8

有些科目合作学习的实践性好,对学生很有帮助,但有些科目可操作性不强

Appendix B: Teaching Plan

Analysis of the teaching material:

The teaching material comes from Module 3 Unit 1 of Book 1 by Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press. The topic in this unit is concerned with the classroom, so students may have a lot of interests. There are a lot of words and numbers to talk about the classroom.

Analysis of the students:

    Students of Grade 7 have developed certain skills in listening and speaking. They have curiosity in what they are going to learn. They have learned words and phrases about the classroom such as chair, desk, so it would be easier for them to talk about the classroom.

Teaching Aims:

Ⅰ. Aims of basic knowledge:

1.     Vocabulary: furniture, television(=TV), thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety

2.     Sentence patterns:

How many…; There is/ isn’t…, there are/ aren’t…

Ⅱ. Aims of abilities:

1.     Listening and understanding familiar topic( classroom)

2.     Talking about familiar topic( classroom)

3.     Using “There be” sentence pattern to describe the classroom

Ⅲ. Aims of emotion:

1.     Good cooperation;

2.     More independence;

3.     Love our classroom, classmates and teachers.

Important and Difficult Points:

Important Points:

Using “There be” and “How many” sentence patterns to describe the classroom

Difficult Points

1.     Using numbers such as forty, forty to describe the classroom

2.     Pronouncing thirteen, fourteen… and thirty, forty… correctly

Teaching Methods: Task-based Teaching Method

Task-based Teaching Method puts an emphasis on learning how to communicate through interaction in the target language.

Teaching Aids: Blackboard and chalks

Teaching Procedures:

Pre-listening

1.     Warm-up: Sing a song: Ten Indian Boys

Intention: To bring students into English atmosphere and present numbers:10, 20,30…

2.     Talk about the classroom

Intention: To present “There be” and “How many” sentence patterns

3.     Talk about the differences of three pictures in Activity 1

Intention: To practice “There be” sentence pattern and make preparations for the listening activities

While-listening

1.     Listen and choose the correct picture in Activity 1

2.     Listen again and answer the following questions

What do they talk about in the dialogue?

What’s the difference of the two classrooms?

Post-listening

1.     Group work: Act out the dialogue

2.     Group work: Design a classroom for students from Hope project and present it in front of the whole class

Homework:

Write a dialogue or an article to talk about the classroom that your group designs for students from Hope project

 

Blackboard Design:

Is there any furniture in the classroom?                     thirteen 

Yes, there is./ No, there isn’t.

Are there any pictures in the classroom?                    thirty

Yes, there are./ No, there aren’t.

How many chairs are there in the classroom?

There are fifty-five chairs in the classroom.

Reflection: Students are very active. They are eager to talk about their classroom. Not all groups get the chance to present.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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