Arts Literature & Linguistics

Arts Literature & Linguistics

An assessment of Students' participation in collaborative learning: the case of Second year English major students at Ambo University, Ethiopia

Pages: 19  ,  Volume: 40  ,  Issue: 1 , November   2019
Received: 07 Nov 2019  ,  Published: 07 November 2019
Views: 186  ,  Download: 77


# Author Name
1 Fekadu Dagnaw


The main purpose of this study was to assess the students’ participation in collaborative learning performance of Second Year English Major students in Ambo University. The data was gathering through questionnaires, interview and classroom observation. The paper contains five (5) chapters. In conducting this study, the researcher took all 36respondents and3teachers (sample population) with simple random technique to get general and specific information. To find out the required information, both open ended and close ended questions were distributed by the researchers. After collecting the data, the researchers organized it through tables and percentages. Finally, the researcher recommended as follows; the students in general should pay attention and they should have to practice daily with their teachers and friends by using collaborative discussion. according to findings, lack of previous experience, lack of back ground knowledge about collaborative learning, students give low attention and training to practice English when collaborative discussion was taken as a conclusion part, were as providing or initiation for the learners on how the collaborative discussion benefits them, arranging tutorial programs for learners to involving as they try to speak English outside of the class and establishing. The English language clubs to improve the students’ communication skill were recommended by the researcher. 

 1. INTRODUCTION 1.1. Back ground of the study Collaborative learning is defined as class room learning techniques which require students to work to gather in groups or pairs in learning tasks, (Callback et al, 2000). No attempt is provided for individual difference and the teacher’s controls the process of learning as collaborative process.  This aim is to teach the language as a system (Paul k, 2006). This indicates that the relationship among the classmate is only because of being classmate. There is no interaction between students in the form of collaborative learning. (Paul knight, 2006).   
When we come to the current approach or student’s center method, it is collected on the basis of its likely contribution to develop learners’ communicative skills. For example, interactive skills in speaking and listening, ability of reading and writing for purpose rather than correctness. Students are given opportunities to learn time developing communicative skills, leader ship skills and interpersonal skills (bean, 2001). Richard, j (2003) stated, learner is presented with tasks which require using the target language in order to be able to cope with the demands of activity. 
Barada, m (2000), also illustrated, students learn best when they actively involved in the collaborative discussion. As Brumtit, knight (1924) reported, collaborative learning helps students to provide a great quantity and better quality of language than students in teacher- centered class room settings. Brumtit, k (1924) 
 In addition, Baarano, J stated that “in the whole class setting learners are expected to answer questions asked by teachers in linguistically accurate forms” (1987). This collaborative learning discussion appears to be potential more meaning full than traditional class room. 
1.2. Statements of the problem 
There is still lack of understanding of learners concerning the benefits of collaborative learning. The traditional methods of teaching still make our learners to be passive participations in their education. Barnwell’s (1994) in the traditional approaches teachers are considered as active and all knower; whereas students are seen as passive and receivers of simply what the teacher’s order them. The course of study is also the researcher personal experience that adds under gone in higher institution where English language teachers had been teaching the language through lecturing sothat the students are found passive learners of the language. By many groups in our country, and the chief concern is the students’ lack of a proper foundation. Most community college students are accepted by open admission. Consequently, most students are unsuccessful in both vocational and general areas. This situational continues after students have graduated, as they do not show the skill needed to apply theoretical knowledge in the real world. Other issues are the traditional methods used in the learning environment and lack of technological information and skills. 

1.4. Objectives of the study 
1.4.1. General objective The main objective of the study was an assessing of the students’ participation in collaborative learning performance in the case of Ambo University Second year English major class.  
1.4.2. Specific objectives The study was specifically conducted on:  
? To identify the major challenges that affect Students participation in collaborative learning in the classroom. ? To assess the extent of students’ participation in collaborative learning in the classroom. ? To explain the techniques to improve students participation in collaborative learning in the classroom. 
1.3. Research questions ? What are the major challenges of students in collaborative learning classroom? ? In what ways students participate actively and equally in collaborative learning? ? What are the techniques used to assess to improve students collaborative learning in the classroom? 
1.6. Significance of the study The result of the study was expected to benefit both students and teachers. It can help teachers to identify the Assessment of students’ participation in collaborative learning developing a wide range of skills. When a group is presents with a task or an idea, there was often being a process of clarification, discussion and evaluation of idea. The study was providing the concerned bodies and student advisors within sight to strengthen their follow full students up for effective participation of collaborative learning so that student can be beneficiary of it. It can also be used as source of information for other researchers to reach at comparable results. Collaborative learning is used as an umbrella term for a variety of approaches in education that involve joint intellectual effort by students or  teachers by engaging individuals in interdependent learning activities. Many have found this to be beneficial   in helping students learn effectively and efficiently than if the students were to learn independently.       
1.5. Scope of the study  This study was limited to examine assessing   Students’ participation  in collaborative learning  in the case of Ambo University second year English major students. However, this problem’s not only found in Ambo University Department English Language Literature Students but also it is a common problem in the whole Higher education institutes. Since we have no enough time and budget, therefore, we limited our study only in Ambo University second year English major students.     
1.7. Limitation of the study Conducting effective research required many things. Time and internet are among the basic requirements. During conducting the research, the researcher faced shortage of time due to classes. The other limitation was there was lack of sources and reference materials at the university. So, to minimize the stated problem of shortage of reference materials, the researcher used different web site. 


                                                                Chapter Two 2. REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE 2.1. Definition of collaborative learning There is no clear air definition of collaborative learning. Deferent scholars have their own perspectives regarding the definition of collaborative learning. Collaborative learning refers to activities were to five or six students are assigned to work together. Calderon (1987) stated, collaborative learning is strategy that is used to increase motivation and help students develop positive image of self and others to solve problem and encourage collaborative social skill. (Caldron, 1987). 
Forcarr so and wool key (2008), collaborative learning projects can help students develop loss of skills that are important in the professional world. They scholars also state ‘more hands make for lighter work’. Two hands are better than one this impliesthat; collaborative learning or group work is more important than a lonely learning or individually preferable method.  
According to Barbara, M (2000) stated, cooperative learning is an instructional in which students work together to accomplish a common goal. This statement implies, to see an accomplished goal, every individual in group should involve in the tasks while discussing in group. Some scholar’s use active learning or student- centered methods instead of group work or collaborative learning. Concerning this there are also scholars who stated active learning or student-center method. According to Beatrice, S (1995, P. 226), students-centered or active learning in class room helps students become confident in their abilities and able to use them to constrict strong society. This scholar also states on page 209 of his book “verbal communication in the class room can be powerful form of positive re – enforcement” .as thisresearcher point of student while communicating together. (Beatrice, S /1995. P. 226). 
For Boswell, C. (1991), active learning is “anything that involves students doing things and thinking about the things they are doing”, (Boswell, C. (1991). This statement implies thatactivelearninginitiates or gives motivation to students to do their tasks. not only doing but also involved students thinking and understanding what, how and why they are doing their task s. Felder, R (2009), also defines active learning method as anything course – related that all students in class session are called up on to do other than simply watching, listening and taking notes. Some students like listening who leads the group’s idea for example. But as fender stated active learning methods requires activity than dominating by those who do, / Fender, R (2009).  
2.2. Types of active learning In student –centered or active learning methods there are types like think pair share, jigsaw ?, jigsaw Π, and reverse jigsaw will be stated. Think pair share: think pair share originally developed by Frank T. Lyman (1981, p, 21) think pair share allows for students to contemplate a posed questions or problem silently. The student may write down through or simply just brain storm in his / her head when promoted, student pairs up with a pear and discusses his/her heads and then listens to the ideas of his / her partner. Following up pair dialogue, the teacher solicits responses from the whole group. 

When teachers use this technique, they do not have to worry about student’s net volunteering because each student will already have an idea in their heads, therefore, the teacher call on any one and increase discussion productivity.  
JIGSAW ?: students are member of two group; home group and expert group. In the 3 heterogeneous home groups, students are each assigned a different topic. Once topics has been identified, students leave the home group and whither the other students with their assigned topic. In the new group, students, the material to gather before returning to their home group. Once back in their home group, each student is accountable for teaching his / her assigned topic.       
JIGSAW Π: jigsaw group Π is Robert slains (1980) variation of jigsaw in which members of the home group are assigned the same material, but focus on speared portions of the material. Each member must become in an expert on his/her assigned portion and teaching three order members of the home group. 
REVERSE JIGSAW: this variation was created by Timothy Heeded (2003). In differs from the original jigsaw during the teaching portion of the original jigsaw during the teaching portion of the activity. In the reverse jigsaw technique, students in the expert group teach the whole class rather than return to their home group to teach the cone 
2.3. Researchers finding on collaborative learning Different researchers have different idea about the benefit that kernels or students can get from group or pair work. Through completing activates in pair no group work student will obtain several benefit (Richard, 2006). These benefits are: 
 They can learn from learning the language used by the member of the group, they will produce greater amount of language than world use in the teacher fronted activities, their motivational level is likely increased, they will have the chance to develop fluency and negative meanings, use communication strategies, correct miss understanding   and work to avoid communication break down stairs.  
2.4. Some common importance of collaborative learning As I tried  to explain above, there are various importance  of work in collaboration or cooperative learning. But the following are some common importance. 
2.4.1. Collaborative learning creates the opportunity for students  Engage in subject specific discussions’ with peers, learn how to work comparatively and support eachother, develop effective team work and communication (including inter personal and cross cultural awareness’) skills, assimilating multiple views to deepen knowledge and promote critical thinking, foster individual accountability to the team, developing independent learning strategies, stricture out – of – class learning, mitigate learner isolation and enhances elf-management 
2.4.2. Pedagogical advantage of collaborative learning 

Although collaborative and team approaches to tacking have been around for many years, there is comparatively little literature on the subject. Most of the curriculum practice of some 800 teachers reported in Nunn 1988), teacher nominated team teaching as a highly favored option in their professional practice. There is sufficient evidence, both in the existing literature and in the studies in this volume to suggest that, as a pedagogical innovation, collaborative teaching can only hope to succeed if:  
Teachers possess or are given skill appropriate to the innovation; teachers are given time implement the innovation, appropriate administrative managerial arrangement and mechanism are developed in tandem with the pedagogical innovating. 
2.4.3. Face to face primitive interaction Face to face promotion interaction is the other basic element of cooperative learning, and it refers that learners need to do real work cooperatively in which they promote each other’s success by sharing resources and learning each other. 
According to Ames and Ames, 1985 Tanetal, (1999), it is through promoting each other learning face to face that members become personally committed to each other as well as to their mutual goals. 

                                                                  CHAPTER THREE 3. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 3.1. Research Design While studying, the researchers used both quantitative and qualitative approaches in order to get enough data through interview, questionnaires and classroom observation the researchers select these two approaches.  
3.2. Data sources 
The source of the study was second year English major students at Ambo University. The types of data source were both primary and secondary sources. The primary source was used to get information by the number of students and teachers asked the question method of interview. The secondary source was collected search to different Google and reading books. 
3.3. Sampling technique The researcherscollected data from the entire target groups because their member wasonly 36.So, it was not difficult to manage the data which was collectingfrom sampling technique them. This made the study more reliable. We, the researcherwereselected 3 English instructors among 5 instructors purposefully.  
3.4. Sampling size 
The total population of second year English major students in Ambo University is 36 students. From this population, 6 are male and 30 are female students. From the total number of students the researcherwastaken all students as a sample by using availability sampling technique. For Second year English language and literature has about 5English language teachers, because of their manageability 3 teachers was selected for the study.  
3.5. Data collecting instruments To obtain more reliable and crucial information the researcher was used three data collection tools. Those are questionnaire, classroom observations and interview. 
3.5.1. Questionnaire 
The questions distributed for 36 students and 3 teachers. The questions were eight close ended and four open ended for students as well as three open ended for teachers. The researcher has been questionnaires to arrive at sufficient data.   
3.5.2. Observation 
Classroom observation was conducted in order to check the data gathering through questionnaires. During observation, check list was conducted on the students. This observation was conducted in none participant pattern.    
1.7.8. Interview  
The researcher provide four items of interview questions for 3 English teachers of  the University to gate supplementary and reliable information through face to face communication. So, that the researchers uses these tools to gate necessary information and in to Word or qualitative form. 

3.6. Method of data analysis In this research qualitative data analysis and interpretation used. The researcher gives analysis and interpretations for the gathering data to achieve the intended university study and to know the pattern; percentage has been used for analysis of data Interpretation.  
                            CHAPTER FOUR 
4. DATA ANALYSIA AND INTERPRETATION 4.1. Students Questionnaire Analysis This chapter deals with the analysis and interpretation of data gathered with questionnaires, interview and observation. The questioners were distributed to both students and instructors. 
Table 1:  Assessment of student's participation in collaborative learning  
Alternatives No of  respondents 
Response by % 
Do you like collaborative learning while learning English? 
Yes 29 80.5% 
No 7 19.4% 
Total 36 100% As it is clearly seen in the table 1: 29(80.5%) of respondents said that, collaborative learning English which 7(19.4%) of them work. The table should that the majority of the respondents were engaged in collaborative interaction. From the above data we can conclude that majority of the students like collaborative learning. 
Table 2: The response of students is collaborative learning more important than individual learning. 
Item Alternatives No of respondents 
Response by% 
Is collaborative learning more important than individual learning? 
Yes 28 77.7% 
No 8 22.2% 
Total 36 100% 
As we can see in table2: majority of students said yes that means 28(77.7%) of students replied that collaborative learning is more important than individual learning while others students, 8(22.2%)replied that collaborative 

learning is not such as important than individual learning. In this questionnaire, we proved that majority of students said collaborative learning is more important than individual learning. 
Table 3: The response of students on our teacher doesn’t supervise us learn in collaborative. 
Item  Alternatives No of respondents 
Response by % 
Our teacher doesn't supervise us while we learn in collaborative? 
Yes 17 47.2% 
No 19 52.7% 
Total 36 100% 
The respondents were also asked whether teachers supervise them or not while they were working in collaborative ways. As shown on the above table3, 17(47.2%) of the respondents replied that they are not supervised by their teachers but 19(52.7%) of the students replied there were supervised by their teachers.So, when we compare it most of students were supervised by their teachers. 
Table 4: The student’s response on the use mother tongue in collaborative discussion. 
Item Alternatives  No of respondents 
Response by %  
Some students use mother tongue in collaborative discussion? 
Yes 25 69.4% 
No 11 30.5% 
Total 36 100% 
As shown in the above table the respondents were asking if some students use mother tongue in   Collaborative discussion because of their mother tongue. As we can see in table4: 25(69.4%) of respondents say yes, and they use mother tongue during Collaborative Learning. and 11(30.5%)of the students said that they didn’t use mother tongue during Collaborative Learning Class.From the above data we can conclude that most of students use mother tongue in Collaborative learning Classroom Practice.  Table 5: Strategies of involving students in collaborative learning 

Item  Alternatives  No of respondents 
Response by % 
Our teacher involving us during collaborative classroom discussion? 
Yes 28 77.7% 
No 8 22.2% 
Total 36 100% 
As it is shows in the above table respondents were asked if their teachersinvolving them during collaborative classroom discussion times, and 28(77.7%) of the respondents helped by their teachers and 8(22.25)of the respondents were not supported by their teachers. From the above data we conclude that the involvements of teachers were good but it was not enough for learners.  
Table 6: The response of student’s on teachers’ control for the dominant.  
Item Alternatives No of respondents 
Response by % 
Do you need your teachers’ control for dominant students during collaborative discussion? 
Yes 27 75% 
No 9 25% 
Total 36 100% 
Table 6:As we can see that students are to respond Doesyou need your teachers’ control for dominant students during collaborative discussion 27 (75%) of the respondents need teachers for learning collaborative during discussion time and 9(25%)of the respondents were don’t need teachers at collaborative learning times in the classroom.  
Table 7: The response of students on teacher encourage during collaborative learning.  
Item  Alternatives No of respondents 
Response by %  
Do you think your teacher encourage all students during collaborative discussion? 
Yes 24 66.6% No 12 33.3% Total 36 100% As we can see in table7: does your think their teachers encourage the students during collaborative discussion 24(66.6%) of the students said that of teachers encourage them to participate collaboratively and 12(33.3%) students 

replied that were not thinking their teachers are not encouraged them to participate at collaborative learning. So, most of the students were encouraged by their teachers. 
From the data in table 7,we conclude that most students are encouraged by their teachers during Collaborative English Language Classes. 
Table 8:  The response of students on like collaborative learning.  
Item  Alternatives No of respondents 
Response by % 
I like collaborative learning while learning English? 
Yes 29 80.5% No 7 19.4% Total 36 100% 
Table 8: As we see the table8: to asking the respondents to like collaborative learning while English class times 29(80.5%) of the students respondents were like to collaborative learning in English class but 7(19.4) of the students were not like to collaborative leaning at English class rooms so most of the students were like collaborative learning at English class times. 
Data analysis on open-ended questionnaires of student’s response  
1. Why some students have the same feeling in collaborative learning? 
In this questionnaires students said that some students have the same feeling in collaborative learning to share information, ideas from one from another through understanding some idea, attitude, andfeeling to create mutual understanding rather than independent learning. 
2. What are the challenges of students in collaborative learning? 
According to student’s response, the challenge of students in collaborative learning is time constraints and also lectures teaching strategies and lack of confidence. Another problem is the use of mother tongue in classroom discussion and lack of motivation during collaborative learning. The absence of equal participation in group discussion and assignment is another problem observed by the researchers.  
3. Do you like collaborative learning? Why? 
Based on the above question most students responded that they like collaborative learning due to the back that it isimportant to get new knowledge, skill, share information and learning about different skills. One of crucial point to hard workers, are encourage good relationship among members. Some students responded they did like collaborative learning, Because of lack of understanding about the advantage of collaborative learning and lack of 

confidence. Therefore, based on the above data the research study indicated that majority of students dislike collaborative learning. 
4. Is collaborative learning more important than individual learning? Why? 
Most students believe that collaborative learning is more important than individual learning since it shares different culture, language, knowledge, confidence and experienced sharing. Some students responded that collaborative learning is not important than individual learning. Most group members did not participate in collaborative learning classes. So, individual learning is better than collaborative learning. Therefore, based on the above responses the researchers concluded that majority students responded collaborative learning is more important than individual learning.  
Analyses of the responses of the teachers’ interviews The English language teachers of Ambo University were interviewed about their ideas on collaborative learning discussion. 
1. Do you give opportunities to students discussing collaborative learning when you teach them? If yes, how often? According to the respondents from English language teachers of Ambo University, Interview the teachers agreed that they always give opportunities to students to discuss in pair or group when they teach them. 2. Do you believe that discussing in collaborative learning improves students’ performance? If yes, how?  In this Interview instructors said that collaborative learning improves students’ performance. In the classroom we have three types of students like fast learners, medium learners and slow learners and a big difference is observed by level of understanding whenteachers assigned tasks for students to share different ideas and experiences. So, the teachers agreed that, collaborative learning improves students’ performance to participate actively. 3. Are your students interested in the classroom task when you give them a collaborative discussion? If no, why? 
According to the respondents from English language teachers of Ambo University, the interview result proved that students haveno interest when teachers give them collaborative learning tasks. The students are not interested in collaborative learning, because, some students have no interest to do classroom tasksin collaborative learning due to language problem, fear of instruction to speak English. 
4. What suggestions do you have to solve if certain factors lower the students collaborative learning performance? 
As Teachers replied that they encourage learners doing tasks in collaboration by telling them the importance of collaborative learning and creating good teaching learning environment collaborative learning in the classroom. 

Teachers also suggested monitoring students in collaborative learning classes appropriately is one classroom night in enhancing/ promoting student’s participation. Moreover, subject teachers explained that they have three types of students in classroom such as fast learners, medium learners, and low learners. So as to encourage and practice all inclusive learning teaching environment teachers should consider all types of learners in general. 
Analyses of the responses to the teacher's questionnaires  
1. In what way students participate actively and equally in collaborative learning? Why? 
Based on the data gathered from teachers respondents the participant in group discuss is equal way treated there is one to five group discussion in classroom interaction and it is always based on the teachers motivation and ways of enforcing students to participate in classroom During group discussion at that time they share ideas, skills and knowledge equal to one from another. Teachers also responded that problem can be solved by encouraging students to practice in English language club and advising students to use English in and out of the classroom environment. 
2. What are the techniques used to assess students collaborative learning? Why?  
Based on questionnaires as shown above, teachers ‘responded that they use a lot of techniques to assess students ‘academic achievement by giving classroom discussion, presentation and by giving group assessment technique. This technique encourage to students explore knowledge, equally participate and sharing ideas free from shines. Generally, based on the above response, teachers used different techniques to assess all students in collaborative classroom environment.  
3. Do you think teacher encourage all students during collaborative discussion? Why? 
In this questionnaire two instructors responded that they encourage all students to develop the students’ performance on how to learn each other and exercise to get practical skill in the future. On the other hand, one instructor answered that he didn’t encourage all students due to student’s negative attitude about collaborative discussion, lack of awareness about the advantage of collaborative learning in doing activities/ classroom tasks. 
4.3. Analyses of classroom Observation The observation is aimed to assess students in collaborative learning performance in second year English major students. The researcher tried to observe the students while they were working in collaborative discussion in the classroom. 
The observation was carried out by including all students of second year English major students using availability sampling technique. As far as our observation is concerned in the classroom. The teacher wrote topic entitled types of paragraph and then He ordered them to do tasks in collaboration depending on the topic of discussion. When we observe their discussion, all students were discussing together on the topic. However, they did not participate 

equally and actively. This means that some students tried to do something and the others sit and listen. Another event what we have observed students have no enough textbooks concerning English language and the teacher did not explain about the topic before discussion is going on. The researchers also observed second year English students. Suddenly, the teacher had started to make them discussion about the topic direct characterization and indirect characterization. After asking her permission to observe the class, we started to observe how to participate, how textbooks are enough and which method did the teacher use in enhancing collaborative learning. 
1. The researchers observed when the teacher orders them to discuss about the topic sentence introduction part, body part, and conclusion part in the paragraph. The teacher asked them to reflect on the topic; and encourage all group members’ to participate and say something on the given topic.  
2. After seen them to answer, the teacher begins to reflect about the topic herself. This implies that, the students expect all tasks from the teacher rather than begging out get knowledge from the subject 
                 Chapter Five 5. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION 
5.1. Conclusion As shown in the summary part, the objective this study was to find response for the listed basic questions. Therefore, based on the above the results the following conclusion are given. 
1. Students did participate actively and equally in collaborative learning. The respondents have put that they had to speaking English. This was resulted from higher experiences. 
2. Almost all (80.5%) of the students like collaborative learning. However, some students feeling of collaborative learning were not similar. That means, they did not interest in to practice in English language while collaborative discussion. 
3. About some of the respondents had the performance of teacher directed class/teacher -centered learning method /most in the class during their session? 
As noted in the research methodology the study population was selected all of them total population 36 of second year English major students using availability sampling technique of the total population 36 students were selected to make the study evidence based. As presents under research design there researcher used both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The researcher employed questionnaire, interview and observation as data collection instruments. 
The researcher tried to explore (assess) students’ participation collaborative learning of Ambo University second year English major students. The rational to study this issue was the researchers observed challenges problems of studying in collaborative learning performance and it was aimed to provide valuable ways to reduce the problem by putting pertinent suggestions.  

5.3. Recommendations 
Based on the findings above, the researcher recommended the following recommendation in this study. Findings have shown that lack of previous experience and fear some students that made not perform in collaborative discussion. Therefore, it is better for the university students, teachers and other concerned bodies to take the following measures to reduce these problems. 
1. Providing orientation for the learners on how the collaborative discussion benefits them. 
2. Arranging tutorial programs for learners to encourage them try to speak English at their home and out the class in the real life situation. 
3. Establishing English language learning, news, drama, and movies or film club, and free talk for girls club to improve the students’ English communication skill. 
4. Teachers should create awareness on the importance of communicating in English for academic and nonacademic purposes in collaborative learning atmosphere.  
5. The negative attitudes toward speaking in English in/out of the classroom should be improved by reducing shyness in the classroom and making mistakes should be considered as natural in collaborative learning classes. 




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