This paper will investigate the effect of cooperation on EFL learners' reading comprehension. The effect will be examined in three sections according to the studies done in the field. Firstly, the effect of student-student cooperation will be explored. Secondly, the effect of student-teacher cooperation will be studied. Lastly, the effect of student-reading specialist will be considered. Nevertheless, before going to the point there will come some clarification about cooperation.
Research in the field of strategies and strategy classifications (oxford, 1990; cited in Brown, 2007) has classified cooperation as a social strategy and has defined it in terms of cooperating with others and cooperating with proficient users of the new language. This "proficient users of the new language" can comprise both teachers and the specialists of the new language.
As supported by studies (Almanza, 1997; Fehring, 1987; Jacobs, 2000; Sen, Burns, & Miller, 2009) student-student cooperation affected the learners' or students' reading comprehension positively. By student-student cooperation, we mean several students cooperating and collaborating with each other during the reading process.
One way to produce student-student cooperation is through cooperative learning. "Cooperative learning is arrangement in which students work in mixed-ability groups and are rewarded on the basis of the success of the group" (Woolfolk, Winne, & Perry, 2003. p. 329). To have effective cooperative learning, groups must be cooperative; i.e. all members must participate (Woolfolk et al., 2003). Almanza (1997) supported the effectiveness of student-student cooperation by her findings, which revealed that students' achievement in reading comprehension could be improved by making use of cooperative learning. Fehring (1987) is also in favor of cooperative learning and its effects on learners' language learning in general including reading comprehension. Jacobs (2000) confirms the effectiveness of cooperative learning in reading, too. In his work, Jacobs (2000) asserted five reasons why cooperative learning or student-student cooperation is effective and should be added to extensive reading (ER) which involves students in silently reading large quantities of reading materials. The five reasons include:
Students can infect each other with enthusiasm for reading.
Students can suggest good ER materials for each other.
The more proficient students can help other students.
Peers provide an audience with whom students can share about what they
The other way providing student-student cooperation is through having students or learners help each other learn by teaching each other. According to Sen and colleagues (2009), "having other students work with the student having difficulty in reading was among the most commonly cited strategies in Chinese Taipei, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Singapore, and Trinidad and Tobago" (p. 3).
The effect of student-teacher cooperation on reading comprehension of the learners is the next section to be examined. Student-teacher cooperation refers to any kind of interaction and activity established between the student and the teacher, which has been indicated to be constructive and affect positively the overall language learning of the learners, reading comprehension included.
Instructional conversation, which refers to "situation in which students learn through interaction with teachers and/or other students" (Woolfolk et al., 2003. p. 335), is considered to be an effective way in developing Student-teacher cooperation, which consequently will have students learn from their teachers and improve their language learning development, reading comprehension included.
According to Sen and colleagues (2009), there are two types of Student- teacher cooperation, which are among the school-support strategies that help
students develop their overall language learning abilities:
The teacher spends more time working with the student individually.
The student works in the regular classroom with a teacher-aide.
Both of these two types of Student-teacher cooperation appeared to be effective in language learning development; however, the first one was proved to be among the most commonly cited strategies used and the second one was found to be among the least commonly cited strategies used in the majority of countries around the world.
The last section analyzes the effect of student-reading specialist cooperation on learners' reading comprehension. Reading specialist is the one who is a kind of expert in reading and its comprehension, is the one who is proficient and experienced in the field. Student-reading specialist cooperation is a cooperation that is established between the student and the reading expert. This type of cooperation has been proved to be a constructive and effective one in language learning development (Woolfolk et al., 2003; Sen et al., 2009) as will be discussed next.
Cognitive apprenticeship has been shown to be an effective way in overall language learning development, reading comprehension included, as student-
reading specialist cooperation. Woolfolk and colleagues (2003) defined cognitive apprenticeship as "a relationship in which a less experienced learner acquires knowledge and skills under the guidance of an expert" (p. 337). It was believed to be an effective form of education in general and language learning in particular, reading comprehension included (Woolfolk et al., 2003).
The other way of establishing student-reading specialist cooperation in order to have an enhanced comprehension among learners is through having students work with a reading specialist whether in a remedial classroom or in the regular classroom. Research (Sen et al., 2009) has shown that both of the strategies were proved to be effective in enhancing the reading comprehension of the learners; however, none of them was among the most commonly cited strategies used in the majority of the countries.