How can cooperative learning be developed to enhance the teaching of biology at secondary school level?

Pillay, Paramasivan (2000) How can cooperative learning be developed to enhance the teaching of biology at secondary school level? PhD thesis, Rhodes University.




This research was undertaken by a group of practising teachers as a collaborative effort to develop a cooperative approach to the teaching of Biology at Secondary School level. The research focussed on Grade 10 learners at three different schools over a period of one full academic school-year. During this time, four complete cycles within an action research framework were completed and reflected upon. Learners were then surveyed by means of a questionnaire and follow-up interviews. The reflective sessions, together with the responses from the questionnaire and interviews, provided a wealth of information with regard to the development of a cooperative approach to teaching. The cooperative classroom is vastly different from the traditional one. Here, new roles are assumed by both teacher and learner. Learners are largely expected to take charge of their learning experience in the classroom. The teacher, while still responsible for facilitating this learning experience, delegates authority to the learners. It was the experience of the group that the relationship between teacher and learner, as well as between learner and learner, vastly improved in the cooperative class where the participants were more relaxed. Over time, learners became more accountable in terms of their work and learning. Learners’ self-esteem and self-confidence grew, and the majority of learners indicated that their understanding of the work improved. Furthermore, the cooperative structure encouraged and developed self-discipline in the learners. In the early stages of this research, the group did find certain behaviour to be inhibiting: excessive noise, laziness, too much tomfoolery, and absenteeism. These problems were easily addressed within the action research framework, and were nearly non-existent by the end of the research. The group also found that: (i) cooperative lessons required more time than traditional lessons, often at the expense (justifiably) of the syllabus, and that: (ii) cooperative lessons played a major role in reactivating learner interest towards the learning process both in and outside the classroom.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Biology, Secondary school, Group work in education, Evaluation
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Education > Education
ID Code:2870
Deposited By: Ms Chantel Clack
Deposited On:29 May 2012 14:18
Last Modified:29 May 2012 14:18
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