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1.1     Background of the Study

In order to teach effectively, the teachers must have sufficient knowledge about the students, in addition to the knowledge about the subject and appropriate methods of teaching. Modern researcher indicates that if proper and suitable methods and techniques are used, even the students of less intelligence can easily learn. Modern researchers indicate four models of instruction that can lead to high student achievement. These include Direct Instruction, Cooperative Learning, Mastery Learning and Project-Based Instruction. (Sadker and Sadker,1997). Cooperation is working together to accomplish shared goals within cooperative situation, Individuals seek outcomes that are beneficial to themselves and to all other group members. Cooperative learning is the instructional use of small groups so that students work together to maximize their own and each others learning (Johnson, Johnson &-Holubec, 1998). The terms group learning and cooperative learning are often used as if they mean the same thing. In fact, group work means several students working together and working together does not necessarily involve corporation. Cooperative learning is an arrangement in which students work in mixed ability groups and are rewarded on the basis of the success of the group as a whole (Woolfolk, 2001).

Cooperative learning activities are carefully structured learning activities in which students are held accountable for their contribution, participation and learning. Students are also provided incentives to work as team in teaching others and learning from others (Slavin, 2000). Though cooperative learning model is attracting worldwide attention of researchers in education, very few studies could be found in the previous research literature relating to the subject of social studies especially in Pakistan. The researcher could trace only one study conducted by Hawkins et al (1998) who found cooperative learning to be effective for teaching Social Studies to 8th class. This gap in knowledge about usefulness or otherwise of this model of teaching needed to be bridged up by further research at different levels of education.The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of cooperative learning on social studies achievement among 8th class students. In this study, cooperative learning means to work and learn in groups and obtain the results on the basis of group performance.

In recent years, studies involving cooperative learning, one kind of student-centered approach have emerged as an internationally important area of social science research among researchers (Slavin, 2011). Many studies have been conducted in different settings of education, using different kinds of cooperative learning techniques. Such techniques are Learning Together (LT), Jigsaw Grouping, Teams-Games-Tournaments (TGT), Group Investigation (GI), Student Teams Achievement Division (STAD), and Team Accelerated Instruction (TAI). A series of research studies has found a appreciate relationship between the higher cognitive and affective outcomes, and cooperative learning approaches (Johnson & Johnson, 2005; Tran & Lewis, 2012a; Tran & Lewis, 2012b). In the setting of Vietnamese higher education lecture-based teaching, one kind of traditional approach has been still the most prevalent instructional approach (MOET, 2009; Harman & Nguyen, 2010). In comparison with cooperative learning techniques, lecture-based teaching has been reported to be less effective to the demands of high rates of cognitive and affective outcomes (Slavin, 2011). In order to improve students’ cognitive outcomes, an alternative to lecture-based teaching could be cooperative learning (Tran & Lewis, 2012a&b). This approach has been reported to improve students’ achievement, and their knowledge retention (Johnson & Johnson, 2009).

Cooperative learning comprises “instructional methods in which teachers organize students into small groups, which then work together to help one another learn academic content” (Slavin, 2011, p.344). Cooperative learning consists of five basic elements: positive interdependence, promotive interaction, individual accountability, teaching of interpersonal and social skills, and quality of group processing. Learning situations are not cooperative if students are arranged into groups without positive interdependence (Johnson & Johnson, 2009). Positive interdependence means that in cooperative learning situations, students are required to work together as a cohesive group to achieve shared learning objectives (Yager, 2000). In the process, students must be responsible for their own learning and for the success of other group members’ learning (Slavin, 2011). In other words, students must ensure that other members in their group complete the tasks and achieve the academic outcomes. The lesson will not be cooperative if students do not “swim together” in the group learning activities (Johnson & Johnson, 2008). Hence, positive interdependence needs to be constructed in cooperative learning groups to help students work and learn together. Positive interdependence results in reciprocal interaction among individuals, which promotes each group member’s productivity and achievement. Promotive interactionoccurs as individuals encourage and facilitate each other’s efforts to accomplish the group’s goals. In cooperative learning groups, students are required to interact verbally with one another on learning tasks (Johnson & Johnson, 2008). As part of the cooperative learning condition, students are required to interact verbally with one another on learning tasks (Johnson & Johnson, 2009), exchange opinions, explain things, teach others and present their understanding (Johnson, 2009). Individual responsibility means that students ask for assistance, do their best work, present their ideas, learn as much as possible, take their tasks seriously, help the group operate well, and take care of one another (Johnson, 2009). Positive interdependence is recognized to create “responsibility forces” that increase the individual accountability of group members for accomplishing shared work and facilitating other group members’ work (Johnson & Johnson, 2005). If there is no individual accountability, one or two group members may do all the work while others do nothing. If the achievement of the group depends on the individual learning of each group member, then group members are motivated to ensure that all group members master the material being studied (Slavin, 1996). When group accountability and individual accountability exist in the group, the responsibility forces increase (Johnson & Johnson, 2009). In reality, students cannot work effectively if socially unskilled students are arranged into one group (Johnson & Johnson, 2006). If basic learning skills on cooperative interaction are not taught, group members cannot work together effectively to finish their tasks. Cooperative learning, compared with individualistic or competitive learning, is more complex because it requires students to engage in learning tasks and work together (Johnson & Johnson, 2005). Therefore, social and interpersonal skills, such as listening attentively, questioning cooperatively and negotiating respectfully need be taught, to help students cooperate effectively in the group. In addition, each group member should know how to manage the group, how to make decisions and how to solve conflicts that arise among group members. If these skills are not taught, cooperative learning activities are rarely successful (Slavin, 1996). To coordinate efforts to achieve mutual goals, participants must: (a) get to know and trust each other; (b) communicate accurately and unambiguously; (c) accept and support each other; and (d) resolve conflicts constructively (Johnson & Johnson, 2009). Group processing is defined as reflecting on a group session to help students: (1) describe what member actions were helpful and unhelpful; and (2) make decisions about what actions to continue or change (Johnson & Johnson, 1999). Group processing helps improve the effectiveness of the members in contributing to the shared efforts to achieve the group’s goals via reflection on the learning process (Yamarik, 2007). In other words, the purpose of group processing is to clarify and improve the effectiveness of the members in contributing to the joint efforts to achieve the group’s goals. In summary, if these basic elements of cooperative learning are included in cooperative learning groups, students achieve better, demonstrate superior learning skills (Johnson & Johnson, 2008), and experience more positive relationships among group members, and between students and the teacher, and more positive self-esteem and attitudes toward the subject area (Slavin, 2011).

In all levels of education students in cooperative situations achieved greater academic, social and psychological benefits (Johnson & Johnson, 2005). Specifically, cooperative learning has been reported to improve students’ academic achievement (Beck & Chizhik, 2008; Sousa, 2006; Zain, Subramaniam, Rashid & Ghani, 2009). For example, one study of the Jigsaw II and GI effect among 98 elementary school students in social studies, lasting 12 weeks in America (Lampe, Rooze, & Tallent-Runnels, 1996), indicated that students in the experimental group had higher academic achievement (p

With every indication shown in the background, students perform better with cooperative learning than they do with alternative forms of instruction in this study we will also explore to see on students of basic technology at ONELGA Rivers State, Nigeria.

1.2     Statement of Thesis Problem

The study of basic technology introduce in the year 2007, by the Universal Basic Education scheme, with a desire to achieve what could not be realized through introductory technology. Most of the teachers of introductory technology and other workshop staff are used to implement basic technology. According to James Amobe, (2010), students cannot learn and archive new skills on one self, knowledge share among mates and others are the basic of learning and achieving greatly mostly in technological subjects, neither will the students develop positive attitudes within his or her ability. Therefore the problem of this study, is to ascertain the effects of cooperative learning on the academic achievement of student in basic technology, which the researcher will conduct and comparatively analyze the effects of cooperative learning after a successful study on ONELGA Rivers State secondary school students in basic technology.

1.3     Objectives of the Study

In summary, this thesis is to study andanalyze the effects of cooperative learning on academic achievement of secondary students on basic technology, and to study the correlation between cooperative learning and academic achievement. Other research objectives are listed below as follows:

1.     To expose the experimental group to cooperative learning for teaching of basic technology in secondary education.

2.     To measure the achievement of the cooperative learning group over the othermethod of learning after teaching.

3.     To find out differences in achievement of experimental and control group.

4.     To analyze the difference in academic achievement of students in cooperative learning group in basic technology and control group.

5.     Find out amongthe means learning, theone students appreciate more with understanding.

1.4     Significance of the Study

This thesis will present in a precise manner, the importance of cooperative learning over othersin learning.It is believed that the findings of this research work should provide detailed information on the effects of cooperative learning methods in obtaining a high student achievements and performance. It is also expected that the study will benefit teachers, basic technology students, researchers and the society in general.

The findings of the study should be useful to teachers. It is expected that the findings will expose thebasic technology teachers to the importance of teaching using cooperative learning method other various method in place. By this exposure the teachers could acknowledge the advantage cooperative learning over the conventional learning method which is teacher centered. It is possible that by this outcome the basic technology teachers would realistically adjust to the application of cooperative learning in achieving greater goals in academic. In turn, the students would have real focus for better performance and achievements in their studies.

Subsequently, it will go a long way to enhance the basic technology students’ effectiveness in the society by being capable of carrying out what they have learned, thereby contributing to the building up of the society at the local, national and international levels.

The research will also be beneficial to the researcher. This is because the study will expose the researcher to so many related areas in the course of carrying out his research. This will enhance the researcher’s experience, knowledge and understanding on cooperative learning in teaching.

1.5     Research Question       

The research work is guided with same research question, which will be administered and distributed among the researchers area of study which are the respondents to this research thesis and these comprise students and staff of basic technology subject within the selected schools. Sample research question are:

1.     What teaching and learning methods are used frequently in basic technology among the teachers of basic technology?

2.     Is there any significant different in you when you study cooperatively than other methods within yourself based on the level of understand and comprehension?

3.     What method of learning do you appreciate and understand more when used?

1.6     Hypothesis

The researcher formed some of the hypothesis which will be tested to support this study. The hypothesis will be tested at 0.05 level of significance using the t-test method and correlation analysis.

The research hypothesis are as follows.

Hypothesis 1: Students who are taught by learning together will have greater achievement in the basic technology than those taught through lecture-based teaching.

Hypothesis 2: There is significant correlation on cooperative learning and student academic achievement.

1.7     Limitation of the Study

Due to time constrain, this thesis should have covered a whole section of the student academic study, but was shorten to a period of eight (8) weeks of study which is for a term, also this research thesis is limited to the study of basic technology subject of the JSS students in ONELGA Rivers State of Nigeria. The study will be restricted to only schools (junior secondary school) where basic technology are taughtin ONELGA Rivers State which four schools are selected from the eight schools which were found offering the subject basic technology.

1.8     Scope of the Study

This thesis will cover four schools purposively selected for the course of this thesis from ONELGA, Rivers State, Nigeria and this study is on effect of cooperative learning on academic achievement of secondary school students in basic technology.

1.9     Definition of Terms

Cooperative learning: Cooperative learning is a successful teaching strategy in which small teams, each with students of different levels of ability, use a variety of learning activities to improve their understanding of a subject.

Academic achievement: Academic achievement refers to a student’s success in meeting short- or long-term goals in education. In the big picture, academic achievement means completing high school or earning a college degree. In a given semester, high academic achievement may mean a student is on the honor roll.

Conventional Learning: Often the focus of learning in conventional approaches is giving students a lecture or an article to read and then set standardized questions based upon the information given. The expected solutions to the questions are usually limited to the information given to students. Typically then, solutions are pre-determined by the teacher and are linked to narrowly set context-specific learning objectives.

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