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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

1-1-2003

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Jacqueline Tilles

Abstract

This study investigated the differences between urban elementary teachers in five neighborhood schools and those in five schools of choice within the Detroit Public Schools with regard to their knowledge of the principles of cooperative learning, their knowledge of teachers' roles related to cooperative learning, perceptions toward the use of cooperative learning, and their perceptions of student learning outcomes in a cooperative learning classroom. An instrument developed by Sikorski (1991) for her dissertation on the perceptions and knowledge of cooperative education was used for this study. The researcher contacted principals of the selected schools to determine a mutually agreeable time to place survey packets in the teachers' mailboxes. The researcher asked the principal if she could speak at a teacher's meeting to explain the purpose of the study and indicate the importance of their participation. A total of 200 teachers, including 110 from five neighborhood schools and 90 from five schools of choice, were asked to participate in the study. Of this number, 189 were completed and returned for a response rate of 94.5% A nonexperimental, causal comparative research design was used as the framework for this study. The results of the statistical analysis found no differences in the use of cooperative learning, teacher knowledge, and attitudes, and student learning outcomes between teachers in schools of choice and neighborhood schools. The appropriate use of cooperative learning requires that teachers and administrators understand the rationale and theories which support this instructional strategy and then apply them to their classroom situations. This understanding requires teachers to participate in either preservice education or professional development programs that focus on cooperative learning. Recommendations for future research would be to examine the effects of cooperative learning in reading or mathematics by comparing student outcomes between students who have participated in cooperative learning in their classes and students in classes where teachers do not use cooperative learning.

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