The effects of co-operative learning on student performance in English as a second language with specific reference to Madadeni College of Education

Khumalo, Kwazi Herman (2001-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The writing of this thesis has been an attempt to respond to the problem of students who do not seem to be able to express themselves succinctly and clearly in English. Madadeni College of Education enrols students who have passed grade twelve, at least most of them have passed English. Their passing English at grade twelve presupposes that they can use English freely during the teaching and learning situation, for all courses are studied and presented through the medium of English. On realising this serious handicap the researcher decided to come up with something that can probably help contribute in shaping good prospective English teachers who will in turn teach many generations to come. There was decided on co-operative learning as the possible technique that can be used in higher education with the view to influencing students to use English practically. It needs to be stressed that co-operative learning is a learning technique or strategy (not a teaching method) that is used to make participants use English practically. The central problem of this thesis therefore is that students fail to express themselves clearly in English. This means the sample of sixty student participants who were drawn from the primary section of teacher training got involved in practical co-operative learning activities in order to practice English in small manageable co-operative learning groups. Co-operative learning is a special type of group work where each participant is given a specific function or task to do. Chapter 1 of this thesis explores the problem of the research and is followed by the hypothesis. The purpose of the research is spelt out that it is to examine and diagnose how co-operative learning can be used as an instrument for improving students' English-speaking skills through active and participatory learning. The research methodology, which uses a descriptive approach becomes part of this thesis. It outlines the activities that are part of this research. Student participants became involved in practical co-operative learning for three weeks. After these activities had been completed, a questionnaire was developed and constructed. The purpose of the study was to examine and diagnose how co-operative learning can be used as an instrument for improving students' English-speaking skills through active and participating learning. Student respondents or participants were respondents. Chapter 2 deals with a critical review of the literature which was completed mainly to identify possible solutions and effective ways to educate the next generations about the problem. Chapter 3 focuses on the research and the research methodology where a research design, which spells out the population sample, research procedures and the design of the questionnaire are central. Chapter 4 deals with the presentation, analysis, and interpretation of the results. As a penultimate chapter, the researcher is able to evaluate (from student participants' responses) the success or the shortfalls of the research. Chapter 5 focuses on the synthesis of findings, conclusions, recommendations and the conclusion of this research.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die skryf van hierdie tesis was 'n poging om die probleem aan te spreek van studente wat dit moeilik vind om hulle duidelik en bondig in Engels uit te druk. Die meeste studente wat met die vereiste graad 12-kwalifikasie tot Madadeni Onderwyskollege toegelaat word, het ook in graad 12 in Engels geslaag. Dit veronderstel dat hulle tydens die onderrig-en-Ieerproses Engels met gemak behoort te kan gebruik, maar dit is ongelukkig nie so nie. Alle kursusse by genoemde kollege word deur medium Engels aangebied. Hierdie ernstige leemte ten opsigte van Engels waarmee die studente te kampe het, het die navorser gemotiveer om 'n bydrae te maak tot die ontwikkeling van goeie Engelse onderwysers wat vir vele toekomstige geslagte waardevolle onderrig kan gee. Daar is besluit om kooperatiewe leer in die navorsing te gebruik as In moontlike tegniek wat in hoër onderwys aangewend kan word ten einde studente aan te moedig om Engels te gebruik. Daar word beklemtoon dat kooperatiewe leer 'n leertegniek of -strategie is (nie 'n leermetode nie) wat gebruik word om deelnemers te motiveer om Engels in die praktyk te gebruik. Die kernprobleem waarmee hierdie tesis te make het, is dat studente hulle nie duidelik in Engels kan uitdruk nie. Die steekprroef van 60 studente wat vanuit die primêre afdeling van onderwyseropleiding getrek is, het betrokke geraak by praktiese kooperatiewe leer-aktiwitete, om sodoende in klein, beheerbare kooperatiewe groepe Engels te praat. Kooperatiewe leer is 'n spesiale soort groepwerk waar elke deelnemer 'n spesifieke funksie vervul, of 'n besondere taak het om uit te voer. Hoofstuk 1 van hierdie tesis ondersoek die navorsingsprobleem. Die hipotese volg daarop. Die doel van navorsing word uiteengesit, naamlik om te ondersoek en te diagnoseer hoe koëperatiewe leer aangewend kan word om studente se taalvaardigheid in Engels te verbeter deur aktiewe en deelnemende leer. Die navorsingsmetodologie, wat 'n beskrywende benadering volg, is deel van hierdie tesis, en dit skets die aktiwiteite wat deel uitmaak van hierdie navorsing. Deelnemende studente was vir drie weke lank betrokke by praktiese koëperatiewe leer. Daarna is 'n vraelys geïmplementeer. Die doel van die studie was die ondersoek en diagnose van hoe koëperatiewe leer as instrument gebruik kan word om studente se "engels-sprekende" vermoëns deur aktiewe en deelnemende leer te bevorder. Hoofstuk 2 is 'n kritiese oorsig van die literatuurstudie, wat hoofsaaklik gerig is op moontlik oplossings en effektiewe maniere om nuwe studente aan die probleem bloot te stel. Hoofstuk 3 belig die navorsing en die navorsingsmetodologie. 'n Navorsingsontwerp wat die steekproef, navorsingsprosedures en die vraelysontwerp uiteensit, staan sentraal. Hoofstuk 4 behandel die aanbieding, ontleding en interpretasie van die resultate. Uit die deelnemende studente se reaksie poog die navorser om die suksesse en tekortkominge van die probleemgebied te bepaal. Hoofstuk 5 sluit die tesis af met 'n sintese van die bevindinge, afleidings en aanbevelings van die navorsing.

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