Cooperative Learning on Academic Achievement in Elementary African American Males

Article excerpt

The aim of T this study was to investigated how cooperative learning promoted the academic success of elementary African American males in grades 3 through 6 in a rural school in Mississippi This study presents viewpoints based on these students' perception of what influenced academic achievement. The qualitative study Using a qualitative analyzed interview data gathered in approach to collecting data, participants engaged6 face-to-face interviews with 16 African-American males over a 3-month period during the 2002-2003 academic school year.. Participants represented 16 elementary African American males. All students students were regular education students who ranged between the ages of 8 and 13 years old. The participants were interviewsed focused on topics related to home and school experiences and and on how these two environments affected their academic success. It was evident of the significance cooperative learning had on their desire to learn. Cooperative learning was found to be a Results of this study indicated that was primary among the factor promoting that promoted these students" their academic success. The results further indicated thatamong the factors thought to inhibit their academic successFinings showed that those African American males who had limited literacy activities did not perform as well academically as the students who did.

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to determine the effective learning styles of rural elementary African American males and to identify instructional strategies that could promote their academic success.

Review of Related Literature

In her book. Black Children: Their Roots, Culture and Learning Styles, Hale-Benson (1982) suggested that the formal methods of educating African American students had not succeeded because educators had not used teaching styles that corresponded with African American children's unique learning styles. According to Hale-Benson, teachers of African American students must understand the role culture has on learning styles and adapt teaching styles to coincide with these learning styles. In describing the unique learning styles of African American children, Hale-Benson stated that African American children engage in people-oriented learning styles, therefore, preferred working collaboratively in groups with others. A positive classroom setting has been linked to student's school satisfaction as early as third grade (Baker, 1999). Baker found that teachers who engaged students in small group instruction and cooperative learning had African American students who showed an overall improvement in academic performance and school satisfaction.

The Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education (1992) defined cooperative learning as a successful teaching strategy that team students in small groups with different levels of ability, using a variety of learning activities to improve their understanding of a subject. The overall intend of this instructional strategy is to teach responsibility for learning and to help others learn. The findings from numerous research on cooperative learning found improvements in (a) academic achievement, (b) behavior and attendance, (c) self-confidence and motivation, and (d) school and classmates satisfaction (Hudley, 1997; Quinn, 2002). The overall concept of cooperative learning is the positive interrelation that occurs when group members are connected together for the success of the entire group. The group builds a community of support and encouragement in carrying out assigned tasks and each member is held accountable for achieving the goals.

Research found that a learning environment that offered encouragement and an opportunity for accomplishment was essential to the academic achievement of African American males (Edwards & McMillion 2000). A sense of accomplishment built the self-esteem and self-concept of African American males and gave them a willingness to continue at being academically successful (Justice, 1999). …