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This research is to determine the effects of the Learning Together Model of Cooperative Learning on English as a Second Language in Reading Comprehension Achievement and Academic Self-Esteem to improve students' scores on reading comprehension tests within a particular primary school setting. The experimental group of students from the upper primary level is the sample for comparison in the form of quantitative and qualitative instruments. Before and after achievements will be taken into consideration for analysis.
During the pre test a specifically design test will be given for the purpose of the present study is administered to all participants 1 week prior to the treatment. This test is based on a reading text and included 12 items that measured participants' literal comprehension of ideas directly stated in the passage and higher order comprehension that required inference and interpretation. Finally, the same post test is administered to the participants in the control and experimental groups at the conclusion of the treatment. This test is a domain-referenced test that covered the learning outcomes and competencies targeted during the period of investigation.
The post test is based on a selection reading text that is previously read by the participants and included nine multiple-choice, three short answers, and eight sentence-completion items that measured the outcomes and competencies under investigation.
Outcomes of the tests, the questionnaires, the feedback on the techniques and observation of the self-esteem of the sample will be taken into consideration for further evaluation. The conceptual framework of this research as below
It has been said that students learn to read by reading and to write by writing. If, in fact, this is true, it is reasonable to assume that students develop feelings of worth by experiencing small daily successes. Success in school, particularly in reading, has a strong impact on students' feelings of worth and accomplishment.
True reading requires both the ability to break down the code and the ability to understand the meaning intended by the writer. Collaboration is required between left and right brain visual skills in order to be a strong reader. Fortunately, students who are weak in either area can be assisted by using specific strategies
Cooperative learning is a philosophical shift from the teacher as primary conveyor of information to teacher as facilitator. Student works together in groups of two to five as they teach one another, problem solve and develop appropriate social skills. Cooperative learning provides a way for students who are weak in academic skills to actively participate in the learning opportunity by contributing their own strengths and by receiving peer assistance. However, research indicates that the strong student who helps the weak one actually benefits more.
The social and school context of the present study is a bilingual environment where Bahasa Malaysia, the native language, is predominately used in the media and for daily communication and English is taught as second language, valued for their educational and cultural significance. However, ESL instruction in the context of the present study remains competitive in nature and does not provide opportunities for active learning and meaningful communication among learners because learners are expected to perform better than their classmates in order to attain higher grades and achieves the approval and success. There is a need to examine the theoretical relevance and efficacy of cooperative learning as an instructional approach in a bilingual and traditional school context such as this one based on the assumption that it would promote active learning and meaningful interaction in the target language of English among learners.
Cooperative language learning has been proclaimed as an effective instructional approach in promoting the cognitive and linguistic development of learners of English as a Second Language (ESL) or English as a Foreign Language (EFL) (Kagan, 1995; Kessler, 1992; McGroarty, 1989, 1993). These researchers, among others, have established the theoretical relevance of cooperative learning (CL) in second language (L2) instruction based on the premise that CL provides maximum opportunities for meaningful input and output in a highly interactive and supportive environment. CL also integrates language and content learning, and its varied applications are in harmony with the pedagogical implications of the input, socialization, and interactive theories of L2 acquisition.
This is because CL enhances the motivation and psychosocial adjustment of L2 learners (Cohen, 1994; Dornyei, 1994, 1997). According to Olsen and Kagan (1992), CL increases interaction among learners as they restate, expand, and elaborate their ideas in order to convey and/or clarify intended meaning. This interaction is important because it contributes to gains in L2 acquisition (Long & Porter, 1985; Pica, Young, & Doughty, 1987) and in academic achievement (Bejarano, 1987; Ghaith & Yaghi, 1998; Kagan, 1989). Furthermore, it has been established that CL enables learners to process information beyond the level of receptive understanding by offering redundancy and multiple venues of information access and tasks (Olsen & Kagan, 1992; Webb, 1989).
Likewise, CL may be especially useful for ESL/EFL learners based on the assumption that it provides a variety of flexible ways for organizing instruction and integrating language and content learning into various discourse and instructional contexts (Olsen, 1989). In addition, CL encourages active participation in genuine conversations and collaborative problem-solving activities in a class climate of personal and academic support. It also empowers learners and provides them with autonomy and control to organize and regulate their own learning (Clifford, 1999; Thomson, 1998)
As Cooperative Learning advances into the nation's classrooms, the benefits of reading strategies increase greatly. Reading strategies suggested in Diversified Teaching, though strong in themselves, gain more power as we put the steps into the hands of students. For many learners, active participation is the key to mastery. In the past, teachers have done most of the action with students passively observing. Now, after carefully modeling the steps of a strategy, teachers can direct the activities to small groups of students. When students become actively involved in the learning process, the following occur:
1. Motivation increases/boredom decreases
2. Mastery improves for kinesthetic learners
3. Responsibility of learning shifts to the students