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Journal: Problems of Education in the 21st Century (Vol.70, No. 1)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 45-58

Keywords : cooperative learning; isolated learners; learners’ relationships; small group learning methods; sociometric methods;

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Building relationships in the classroom is an essential part of any teacher's career. Having healthy teacher-to-learner and learner-to-learner relationships is an effective way to help prevent pedagogical failure, social conflict and quarrelsome behavior. Many strategies are available that can be used to achieve good long-lasting relationships in the classroom setting. Successful teachers' pedagogical work in the classroom requires detailed knowledge of learners' relationships. Good understanding of the relationships is necessary, especially in the case of teenagers' class. This sensitive period of adolescence demands attention of all teachers who should deal with the problems of their learners. Special care should be focused on children that are out of their classmates' interest (so called isolated learners or isolates) in such class and on possibilities to integrate them into the class. Natural idea how to do it is that of using some modern non-traditional teaching/learning methods, especially the methods based on work in small groups involving learners' cooperation. Small group education (especially problem-based learning, project-based learning, cooperative learning, collaborative learning or inquire-based learning) as one of these methods involves a high degree of interaction. The effectiveness of learning groups is determined by the extent to which the interaction enables members to clarify their own understanding, build upon each other's contributions, sift out meanings, ask and answer questions. An influence of this kind of methods (especially cooperative learning (CL)) on learners' relationships was a subject of the further described research. Within the small group education, students work with their classmates to solve complex and authentic problems that help develop content knowledge as well as problem-solving, reasoning, communication, and self-assessment skills. The aim of the research was to answer the question: Can the cooperative learning methods help to integrate isolated learners into the class? The research was realized as a pre-test-post-test design for the sample of 207 learners of first, second and third grades of lower secondary school. Standardized sociometric questionnaire B-3 was used to determine the number of isolated learners before and after using the CL methods. Consequently, using the Wilcoxon statistic test of significance, the hypothesis was verified that the number of isolates after the CL methods is statistically significantly lower than that of the case before using the non-traditional teaching/learning method. Accordingly, the research results justify implementation CL methods into education.

Last modified: 2018-06-18 01:21:59