Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Cooperative Learning in Turkey: A Content Analysis of Theses

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Cooperative Learning in Turkey: A Content Analysis of Theses

Article excerpt

Advancements in science and technology affect our lives in all areas. The needs and expectations of individuals and the marketplace continue to evolve in the areas of renewal, advancement and learning. As Meder (2001) states, information society causes a great transformation since it hardly keeps the pace of the whole world. In a modern society knowledge became the main source for production and continuous learning, and therefore, change and development became inevitable for individuals and societies to survive.

These changes and developments have triggered new efforts for strengthening and developing the education system in Turkey and have led administrators and educators to seek new approaches to learning. Key adjustments were made since 2005 in order to raise individuals who can meet the necessities of our age, think analytically, make syntheses, be solution-oriented, be able to find information efficiently, and communicate effectively. Specifically, curricula were improved in the context of approaches and models and a student centred education atmosphere was created in place of a teacher centred educational approach.

Student centred learning methods are classified as active learning applications. Active learning does not accept teachers as main information givers and changes the learning atmosphere into an operational process in which students learn actively and teachers monitor the process. Active learning processes contributes to students' acquiring high level skills that can be used in life and in developing intellectual entrepreneurship (Akpinar & Gezer, 2010). In active learning students seek out relevant resources, learn to acquire information from different sources, organize and present the information they found, take and share responsibilities in individual and group projects, share their knowledge, and interactively cooperate to form a collective knowledge (Akar, 2012). Learners have active roles in learning and the teaching environment; thus, researchers and educators develop and enact learning environments in which learners are active. One approach in which the students are active is Cooperative Learning.

Cooperative learning is a form of group work which aims to increase the learning skills of the students and their peers in the group for shared goals using different methods. This learning method has earned respect worldwide, especially in the USA. Increasing numbers of studies on this topic, the variety of student and educational activities, and the number of individuals taking part in these activities are all the indicators of this respect (Timur, 2006). Cooperative learning is also well respected in education media at all levels as an alternative for instruction strategies. The reason for this high level of respect is the fact that students can learn from each other while making descriptions, decisions and cooperating in strategies and problem solving methods (Doymuç, §imçek, & §imçek, 2005; Koç, 2014).

Cooperative learning shines out when compared to conventional methods in many aspects. One superior part of cooperative learning method against other methods is that the attention of the teacher is not only on one student but on the whole group formed (Panitz, 1999). In this method the students are active and the teacher is a guide. The academic assignment given to the group isn't done by just one student; there is an issue of sharing (Gillies, 2004). The students not only interact with the teacher only but also among themselves (Yaçar, 1993, p. 431). Therefore a media of socialization for students is achieved. Cooperative learning gives students opportunities to actively get involved with the teaching and learning process and improve their skills of sharing, having feedbacks of their own learning, interacting with friends, using their own skills, being responsible and helping their friends to learn, solving problems, and thinking critically (Yildiz, 1998).

In the literature, studies concerning cooperative learning increased in numbers beginning in the 1960's, but this increase was only seen in Turkey in the 2000's. …

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