Much research on cooperative learning using pre- & post-tests generally finds that it can enhance motivation and improve interpersonal relations (Nastasi & Clements, 1991; Slavin, 1995). Employing lesson observation, this paper investigates how primary pupils interact with each other when they work in cooperative learning groups. The interacting process of the pupils in thirty-one cooperative learning groups was videotaped. The videotaped lessons were then transcribed and coded for analysis. Themes were extracted and categorized. Group interviews were conducted to the pupils to follow up on the themes that emerged from the analysis of the videotaped segments. It was found that despite the preference for working together expressed by about half of the students, they encountered many problems when working in cooperative learning groups, such as quarrels, conflicts, frustration and lost of interest in learning. The findings suggests that the positive outcomes of learning together do not come about automatically when pupils are put in cooperative learning groups. The paper concludes by making suggestions on enhancing cooperative learning including the preparation of pupils for working in groups, the composition of pupils in groups, the careful use of different kinds of group tasks and the monitoring of learning in groups in order for pupils to benefit from cooperative learning.
|Published - 2008