Teachers' and pupils' perceptions of and responses to cooperative learning methods within the Islamic culture courses in one secondary school in Saudi Arabia

Algarfi, Abdulrahman (2010) Teachers' and pupils' perceptions of and responses to cooperative learning methods within the Islamic culture courses in one secondary school in Saudi Arabia. University of Southampton, School of Education, Doctoral Thesis , 280pp.


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This study investigated the development and implementation of cooperative learning in two Saudi classrooms seeking the perspectives of teachers and pupils. A review of the literature suggests that efforts to introduce cooperative learning have tended to be initiated in Oceanic, North American or European contexts (Jolliffe and Hutchinson, 2007). Research is less forthcoming in other regions in the world. Research on group work / cooperative learning methods in Arab-speaking nations is in its infancy. The specific purpose of this thesis is to examine the development and implementation of cooperative learning in two Islamic culture classes in one secondary school in Saudi Arabia. In both, the perceptions of teachers and pupils were sought, to gather the opinions of teachers regarding changes to their classroom practice.

Two male secondary teachers with 19 and 12 years teaching experience participated in a 10-hour training programme on cooperative learning in the classroom, and then they and their pupils (39 pupils) were tracked over a four-week period to investigate their experiences of this new approach. Individual interviews with teachers took place at four points across the research period: before and after the training programme, in the middle of the implementation stage and at the end of the project. Focus group interviews with pupils also took place before, in the middle and after the implementation stage. In addition, field note observations of approximately 40 lessons were made and short segments of some lessons were videoed. Teachers kept an audio reflective log to record their experiences.

Results indicated that both teachers initially had very limited knowledge of cooperative learning. The findings indicated that teachers were very supportive of the training they received. Pupils and teachers described a number of benefits of cooperative learning and the opportunity to experience a broader range of educational outcomes. Teachers described and demonstrated a number of aspects of their practice that illustrated a shift to a more pupil-centred classroom, with their role becoming more of a facilitator of learning. Pupils highlighted their enjoyment and new-found freedom and opportunity to take greater ownership of and responsibility for their and others' learning. The research provides further contributions to the literature on cooperative learning in general and specifically about its use in Saudi Arabia. The study reveals the need for wider consideration and development of cooperative learning in both pre-service and in-service programmes in Saudi Arabia and the implications for a number of stakeholders to realise the aims presented.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: cooperative learning, continuing professional development (CPD), training, implementation, classroom change, islamic culture, secondary school
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Education
ePrint ID: 166259
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
24 May 2010Made publicly available
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2010 16:12
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 13:30
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/166259

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