Cooperative Learning in EFL Classes: A Comparative Study on Vocabulary Teaching
This present study aims to investigate the efficiency of cooperative learning and traditional instruction in terms of vocabulary recognition in foreign language teaching. In line with this purpose, the study searches for the answer of the following research question: “Is there a significant difference between the vocabulary learning performances of the students who were taught through cooperative learning method and the students who were taught through traditional methods?” and tries to find out whether students’ vocabulary could be enriched through an instruction which emphasizes the role of cooperation rather than competition among students in teaching vocabulary. The study employs a quantitative research design comparing cooperative learning versus traditional method in terms of vocabulary learning/teaching. The instruments of the study cover a pre-test, a post-test, 8 reading texts, worksheets, posters, and quizzes. The test in concern- the vocabulary test- underwent a process with the guidance and supervision of language and scale development experts, and then was finalised to be used as the pre-test and post-test (Cronbach’s alpha 0.83). The participants were freshmen at Selcuk University School of Foreign Languages (SOFL). The study was carried out in a four-week experimental process on two groups- experimental and control – each of which consisted of 18 students. A pre-test was applied at the beginning of the process to make sure if the two groups were equal in terms of their prior vocabulary knowledge and see the improvement afterwards. Throughout the study, the experimental group experienced learning vocabulary through Cooperative Learning (CL) and the control group was taught through traditional instruction- the gloss and the use of a monolingual dictionary with the same vocabulary syllabus for both groups. At the end of four weeks, a post-test -the same as the pre-test- was applied. Collected data was analysed through SPSS. The results indicated that the participants of the experimental group who had the Cooperative Learning experience led to better results in terms of vocabulary learning than the other students who were taught through the traditional instruction.
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