Using STAD in an EFL Elementary School Classroom in South Korea: Effects on Student Achievement, Motivation, and Attitudes Toward Cooperative Learning

| February 28, 2006
Title
Using STAD in an EFL Elementary School Classroom in South Korea: Effects on Student Achievement, Motivation, and Attitudes Toward Cooperative Learning

Author
Dion G. Norman
University of Toronto
Abstract
There is a large body of research supporting the positive effects of cooperative learning, not only on student academic achievement, but also on other important factors such as student motivation, student relations (including group skills and acceptance of lower level students) and liking of school. A form of cooperative learning known as Student Teams Achievement Division (STAD) developed by Robert Slavin and his colleagues, is the most heavily researched cooperative learning approach, and has produced positive effects across a wide range of grades and subjects. There has, however, been little research on the effectiveness of STAD in an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) environment. Contemporary theories of second language learning stress the importance of student centered learning where much learning is done through peer-to- peer interaction. STAD, it will be argued, may prove to be an ideal approach in these settings where there is often a need to balance student centered learning with the demands of a test centered curriculum. This study, although limited in duration and scope, seeks to examine the impact of STAD in a South Korean elementary school. STAD was used with all grade six classes and was compared to grade five classes which worked in groups lacking the key components of STAD. Both groups completed pretest and posttest surveys which measured changes in exposure to English education outside of the classroom, liking of the English class, attitudes toward working in cooperative learning groups, and changes in academic scores. The results of the study suggest that STAD had significantly positive effects on student achievement and students attitudes towards learning English. The effect of STAD was greater for achievement than for attitudes toward learning English.
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Category: Thesis