An investigation of Cooperative Learning in a Saudi high school: A case study on teachers’ and students’ perceptions and classroom practices
thesisposted on 26.06.2017, 11:24 authored by Mohammed Almulla
The aim of this study is to investigate the perceptions of Saudi high school teachers and their students about cooperative learning. It also investigates teachers’ classroom practices based on the five cooperative learning (CL) principles (Johnson & Johnson, 2014). Most empirical studies in the field focus on assessment instead of examining attitudes and perceptions. The improvement of teachers and learners’ understanding of CL and its implementation is, however, unlikely to be achieved if researchers are only concerned with achievement. Moreover, only a few studies have been conducted in the Middle East and in traditional lecture-style contexts, such as Saudi Arabia, where CL is still considered a new teaching method. The current study was conducted in one state all-male high school in Saudi Arabia. The participants were eight teachers who received in-service teacher training on using CL based on Johnson and Johnson’s model and who have been using CL for more than one year, along with their 97 participant-students in Years 10, 11 and 12. The data comes from individual semi-structured interviews, a questionnaire and classroom observations. The findings indicate that all teachers and the majority of students in this investigation showed positive attitudes towards CL and prefer it to lecture-style lessons. The findings suggest that training in cooperative learning is important to help teachers change their practice and their perceptions of classroom roles, responsibility and authority. However, there are considerable initial challenges when teachers change from lecture-style to CL. Furthermore, there are some challenges and difficulties in implementing CL in the Saudi context, such as curricula and the assessment system. Nevertheless, CL training and implementation in the Saudi educational context could promote the development of new communities of practice. It could also create communities of learning among students, thus helping them with their academic and social learning and shaping their identities.