Developing instructional skills for cooperative learning for lower secondary teachers

3.4.1. Initial experiment results show that teachers using cooperative learning have positively affected learning results of students. Almost all students in the experimented classes are interested in learning and strategies used by teachers following cooperative learning theory. As results, learning performance o f students in these classes is higher than in the non-experimented classes. Observations also prove the quality of teachers’ skill development in cooperative learning of those who have been trained, promoting a joyful learning environment for students so they learn bet ter. 3.4.2. Through survey questionaire filled by teachers after participating in the training and practice at schools also show that teachers and management staff have a good understanding of essential elements of cooperative learning as well as understanding of factors affecting quality of cooperative learning instruction. All respondents believe that they have obtained good skills and have a good understanding of cooperative learning instructions. It is also a good condition for developing cooperative learning instruction further. 3.4.3. Through consultation with experts and educational management staff, most of teachers and management staff confirm that strategi es presented in the two groups of strategies as recommended in the research paper are feasible and effective, of which strategies belong to group 1 are more feasible since it is related to developing training contents and developing skills for teachers of which sets of instructional skills required for cooperative learning are emphasized. The group 2 which consists of 4 strategies also receives high support.

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earches by Bozdanxki, Rot, G., Kupixevich, Palatopxki etc. All researchers believed that cooperative learning is much more effective than giving a question to all students or an individual student. Okon, V. Developed a summary of theories of cooperative teaching through different stages and by different groups. However, a number of studies also provided some evidences showing some shortcomings of the cooperative learning. Research by Renkl (1995) mentioned about the conditions for cooperative learning as well as some other disadvantages of this strategy. These should be well studied and paid attention when applying cooperative learning in context of renovation of educational instructions in our country and they are also rationales for our research. 1.1.1.2. In-country research and studies A number of typical researchers such as Thái Duy Tuyên, Nguyễn Hữu Châu, Đặng Thành Hưng, Trần Bá Hoành and other researchers have developed their studies in cooperative learning. Additionally, articles written by Nguyễn Thị Hồng Nam, Nguyễn Văn Hiền, Trần Ngọc Lan - Vũ Thị Minh Hằng, Trần Thị Bích Hà are about cooperative learning. All authors believe that cooperative teaching for cooperative learning is an effective instructional model. 1.1.2. Scientific rationale for cooperative teaching 1.1.2.1. Philosophical rationale Learning is a process of creating and solving problems developed inside and outside of learning groups, so it develops intrinsic and extrinsic competencies for learners’ development. 1.1.2.1. Psychological rationale Cognitive conflicts lead to uncontrolled changes in points of view, therefore one must be responsible for individual behaviors. Social interactions require individuals to listen in order to analyze, screen, think and combine different thoughts, views to produce appropriate actions or behaviours to other members. Conflicts are solved through collaboration and cooperation among individuals in a group will help an individual to develop his/her own cognition. 6 Lower secondary students are interested in communication and interactions with others around, especially with peers in same activities, playing or working in a group of close friends. Cooperative learning will maximize values for students in line with teenager characteristic. That is also an objective of renovation of teaching methodology in our country at present. 1.1.2.3. Sociological rationale Collaboration is a crucial element in life. On sociological view, collaboration occurs in all facets of life of an individual, a family, a community. Philosophy of cooperative teaching is developed based on new views towards nature of learning in general and in learning activities in schools in modern time. An instructional strategy or a group of strategies are developed based on a certain philosophy of instruction which is rooted from social learning model. 1.1.2.4. Instructional rationale In the process of renovation of teaching methodology in schools in Vietnam, students or learners centered philosophy to maximize learning of students and to develop their independent skills is considered an ultimate goal of renovation process of teaching methodology. To facilitate learners in participatory activities or discussions, facilitators and learners should collaborate well to achieve learning objectives. Teachers must consider students as friends or colleagues in process of finding learnings. 1.1.3. Concepts of tools 1.1.3.1. Definition of collaboration Within this thesis framework, this concept is defined as a voluntary action of all members working in a group. All members work to achieve the group results, also meaning to achieve individual objectives based on the group results. All members must follow group’s principles or rules set and have tasks to contribute to the group results. 1.1.3.2. Concept of Cooperative learning Cooperative Learning is a learning strategy based on cooperation and collaboration among a group of learners with facilitation, instructions, and support of teachers. Cooperative learning sets a group objective which will be contributed by participation and collaboration of all members that a group achievement is in harmony with an individual achievement. All members will be responsible for the group achievement and sharing their interests. They must demonstrate social values in the process of collaboration. 1.1.3.3. Concept of Cooperative teaching Cooperative teaching means that teachers use instructions that promote cooperative learning among students. Applying this strategy, teachers organize activities for students to be able to cooperate in a group appropriately to objectives and contents of cooperative learning. Cooperative teaching creates a friendly environment for students to work in a 7 group to achieve their learning and develop their intellectual potentialities. At the same time, it promotes social interaction and cooperative skills for students in cooperative learning. 1.1.3.4. Concept of development Concept of development in this thesis means that a process of changes from old situations to improved situations for a target group, help them develop cognition and skills based on existing knowledge and skills and through their learning or reinforcement activities. 1.1.3.5. Concept of professional development or reinforcement We believe that: professional development is a process of adding knowledge and other pedagogical skills to develop competencies for the target group. Persons receiving professional development activities are those who are already trained and hold certain level of professional background. 1.1.3.6. Concept of skills We define skills in this thesis which are more referring to competencies to implement effective tasks including skills and techniques. It means that it requires a process of practices for transferring knowledge to practical situations to attain good results. 1.1.4. Nature, structure and effect of cooperative teaching 1.1.4.1. Nature of cooperative teaching Cooperative teaching is different from traditional teaching method. It demonstrates clearly in learners’ and teacher’s activities and interactions among three conditions of teachers (facilitators), learners and environment. Cooperative learning activities must be designed to ensure individuals having roles and responsibilities for assigned tasks. Work/tasks must be shared equally in size among group members. 1.1.4.2. Structure of cooperative teaching Fundamental structure of cooperative teaching consists of 5 elements of positive interdependence, face to face interactions, individual and group accountability, interpersonal and group skills, and group processing. 1.1.4.3. Effect of cooperative learning to lower secondary education level - Characteristic of lower secondary education. - Effect: Cooperative learning promotes individual competencies, interdependence, creativity, active learning, so it promotes self-esteem and self-development skills for learners such as ‘taking risks’. Cooperative learning consists of participation of individual learners and a group to attain new knowledge and skills. Teachers must organize activities in an environment that it promotes exploration and learning for students. Cooperative learning should be applied in all secondary schools. 8 1.1.5. Development of cooperative instruction/teaching We define the concept of cooperative instructional skills are pedagogical skills performed by teachers to support students in cooperative learning through selecting contents, and organizing appropriate learning activities based on appropriate conditions, facilities and principles of cooperative learning. Teachers use different sets of skills for cooperative learning at different lesson stages. Development of instructional skills for cooperative learning must be based on general pedagogical skills required to teach at lower secondary level, and through the process of professional development of teachers. Teachers will build up these skills through practice as well as improved understanding of its theory. There are different strategies of professional development of instructional skills for cooperative learning for students such as through in-service teacher training, application of these skills in practice, organization of professional meetings to share experience at schools. 1.2. PRACTICAL RATIONALE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF INSTRUCTIONAL SKILLS FOR LOWER SECONDARY TEACHERS 1.2.1. Situations of application of instructions and renovation of teaching methodology, understanding of teachers of cooperative teaching and learning, and professional development activities to improve instructional skills for cooperative learning of lower secondary teachers through surveys 1.2.2.1. Conducting surveys Surveys have been conducted in 3 provinces of Tây Ninh, Bình Dương and Bình Phước. The survey targeted to lower secondary school educational management staff and teachers. The survey was conducted during the school year of 2007-2008 focus on the contents of use of different teaching strategies of teachers; renovation of teaching methodology; instructional strategies for cooperative learning at lower secondary schools; professional development and teacher training activities for lower secondary teachers. Questionaire and discussions were mainly used in the survey. 1.2.2.2. Survey results a. Current situations of use of instructional strategies: Lower secondary teachers still use traditional strategies such as lecturing, using aids, asking questions etc. So called new strategies such as projects, case studies, role playing, group discussion etc are unlikely used by teachers. Few teachers master strategies which are often used by teachers, only 50% of teachers surveyed can use lecturing strategy well. Especially, the survey found that teachers almost own teaching skills. Therefore it is really a challenge for the renovation of teaching methodology. b. Survey of results of the renovation of teaching methodology - Understanding of teachers of the innovative teaching methodology: Almost all teachers and educational management staff have a proper understanding of the innovative 9 teaching methodology (73,1%), however some teachers do not have appropriate understanding of the innovative teaching methodology. - Implementation of the innovative teaching methodology: 72% teachers and educational management staff have implemented the innovative teaching methodology demonstrated in a number of skills such as lesson design, instructions, and use of learning and teaching aids. However, teachers lack key essential skills for the innovative teaching methodology. + Results of the innovative teaching methodology: 71% participants to the survey have a proper understanding of results of the innovative teaching methodology, generally saying that it is effective and positive. Many teachers and educational managers have not yet developed a proper understanding of challenges when applying the innovative teaching methodology. Almost all teachers and educational management staff agree with positive side of the cooperative learning. c. Results of survey of understanding of cooperative learning and teaching of lower secondary teachers, and current situations of teacher training, professional development of instructional skills for cooperative learning by lower secondary teachers * Awareness and understanding of lower secondary teachers and management staff of cooperative teaching and learning + Awareness and understanding of cooperative learning by survey participants reach 72%, there are some major characteristics of cooperative learning instruction which were not properly understood by almost all teachers. + Teachers and management staff do not have a proper understanding of cooperative learning instruction /teaching + Implementation of cooperative learning instruction: almost all teachers and management staff believe that they have not yet implemented cooperative learning instructions, it probably means that they have not had a proper understanding of cooperative learning. * Survey results of teacher training and professional development activities Results from questionaire: Almost all teachers and management staff have not been trained in cooperative learning strategies. Only a small number of teachers have been trained in a small scale project by international specialists. Through interviews, meeting and discussions with provincial and district educational management staff and desk review, we find that Training contents: Teachers are mainly trained in new strategies required for teaching innovative curriculum of lower secondary education; in topics such as environmental protection, HIV/AIDs and drug use prevention. Teacher training was implemented in some core provinces which they are believed to have more advantageous 10 conditions for application of the cooperative learning strategy; periodical teacher training to improve teaching quality and educational quality; professional development activities as cooperative activities with other teacher training colleges or university of education to provide upgraded teacher training for standard qualification; teacher training in specific subjects to enhance subject area knowledge, understanding and neccesary skills required to teach the subject. Approach, characteristic and target of teacher training activities: teacher training activities are organized at provincial level or at a cluster of school which are mainly conducted in summer. It is organized for lower secondary teachers and management staff. Trainers or facilitators are selected from core teachers (usually ranked as best teachers) who play roles as core teacher network for provincial or district level, and lecturers from teacher training college or the provincial DoE who are assigned to participate in teacher training activities organised by the Ministry of Education and Training. For any cooperative teacher training activities or distant program, teacher training for upgraded qualification for teachers are conducted by lecturers of the liason University or colleges. Through surveys and practical observations, it is clear that teachers and educational management staff have not been officially trained in cooperative learning strategies. 1.2.2. General conclusion of current situations through survey - Lower secondary teachers mainly use traditional teaching methodology. They don’t have and almost don’t use cooperative learning strategies. Therefore they don’t skills of innovative teaching methodology (cooperative learning as one of elements). - Lower secondary teachers and management staff have an understanding of the innovative teaching methodology; however this knowledge foundation is not very profound yet. Teachers and management staff have started some activities to implement innovative teaching methodology and have a proper understanding of effectiveness of the innovative teaching methodology. However, teachers don’t have a proper understanding of key principles required for the innovative teaching methodology, which is somehow better demonstrated through understanding of the management staff. - Teachers and management staff have a certain level of understanding of cooperative teaching and learning. Almost all teachers have not yet formally applied cooperative learning strategy. However, they believe in the positive results of the cooperative learning. And educational management staff has a better understanding of the cooperative learning and teaching. - Teachers and management staff have been trained in a set of instructional strategies; however they have not been trained in a number of essential skills, especially not in cooperative learning. 11 1.3. CONCLUSION OF CHAPTER 1 1.3.1. Cooperative teaching should be fully understood that teaching skills or strategies required implementing cooperative learning of which teachers organize activities and facilitate students to learn together in line with educational objectives, contents and cooperative learning principles. This approach creates a favourable condition for students in learning new knowledge and also promotes cooperative skills for students. Cooperative learning instruction encourages active participation of learners through cooperation in groups. Teachers need to design activities with aims and contents to promote the cooperation among students, so individual members are accountable for the group tasks and their own tasks. Students are the center of learning process, developing his/her interpersonal skills through cooperating with teachers and peers, so to achieve individual objectives and contribute to the achievement of the group. 1.3.2. To implement cooperative learning successfully, teachers need to gain an instructional system which is in line with principles and characteristics of cooperative learning instruction. Skills are not demonstrated in behaviors or actions of a person, but also his/her competencies. Instructional skills are demonstrated in combination of professional skills of teachers to develop competencies and individual values for students. Developing instructional skills for cooperative learning should be based on general instructional existing skills of teachers to build on a set of necesary instructional skills for cooperative learning in line with cooperative learning theory. Teachers should be developed with instructional skills for cooperative learning through teacher training and professional development activities. 1.3.3. Situational analysis also indicates that existing professional skills and knowledge vary among teachers. Some lower secondary teachers participating to the survey have a certain understanding of cooperative learning and cooperative instruction; however this understanding is still limited and not sufficient. However almost all teachers and management staff believe that cooperative learning will be contributing to the success of the innovative teaching methodology, contributing to the effective education quality. 1.3.4. The situational analysis also indicates that teachers have some initial steps in cooperative learning application; however they don’t have yet a systematic process of application. Almost all teachers and management staff agree with the strategies set required for cooperative learning introduced by teachers and they believe that these are neccessary skills. In fact, teachers and management staff have not been formally trained in these skills. There have not been any formal strategies in teacher training in cooperative learning for lower secondary teachers. 12 Chapter 2 STRATEGIES TO DEVELOP SKILLS REQUIRED FOR COOPERATIVE LEARNING FOR LOWER SECONDARY TEACHERS 2.1. PRINCIPLES OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF STRATEGIES OF COOPERATIVE LEARNING INSTRUCTIONAL SKILLS FOR LOWER SECONDARY TEACHERS 2.1.1. Principle of objective 2.1.2. Principle of systematic development 2.1.3. Principle of practice or feasibility 2.1.4. Principle of comprehensive effectiveness 2.2. STRATEGIES FOR DEVELOPING SKILLS FOR COOPERATIVE LEARNING FOR LOWER SECONDARY TEACHERS The thesis presents two groups of strategies for developing cooperative teaching skills for teachers. Contents of these strategies specify approaches and requirements in cooperative teaching skills therefore the thesis does not present how these strategies are implemented. Contents of skills development for cooperative learning are in line with essential skills required by lower secondary teachers, and skills of lower secondary students for using cooperative learning. 2.2.1. Strategies - group 1: development of contents for teacher training in cooperative learning for lower secondary teachers * Strategy group 1: development of contents for teacher training in cooperative learning for lower secondary teachers (including 3 strategies) Objective: To develop teacher training contents used for in-service teacher training courses under the innovative teaching methodology program in order to develop instructional skills for cooperative learning for lower secondary teachers, meeting demands of the renovation of teaching and learning methodology in our country. Contents: - Strategy 1. Training contents to guide teachers in lessons design for cooperative learning (a set of skills such as lesson design with objectives, instructions, teaching and learning aids, activity design) - Strategy 2. Develop skills of conducting a lesson using cooperative learning (a set of skills such as organizing group work, grouping strategy, instructing objectives and tasks of students in group, assessment of interactions) - Strategy 3. Develop skills for supporting cooperative learning (a set of skills such as using worksheet, questioning, using verbal instructions etc.) 13 * Strategies of group 2: Instructions for practice of cooperative learning at schools (including 4 strategies) Objectives - Support teachers in mastering a process and methods of using cooperative instruction. - Reinforce knowlege for teachers. - Create a habit for teachers to practice cooperative learning and self-studying in cooperative learning. - Improve capacity of professional development activities in lower secondary schools applying cooperative learning. Contents: - Strategy 1. Guide teachers in developing interdependence skills for group members in cooperative learning. On the basis of the lesson objective, teachers facilitate group leader to identify tasks for individual members, so individuals are accountable for working with one another to achieve the group work set in the objective. Interdependence skills are demonstrated in tasks assignment, roles in group so students will cooperate to complete the assigned tasks. Teachers need to name group and explain for students to achieve the related learning to tasks as well as their accountability to the group problem solving. - Strategy 2. Guide teachers in practice of students in cooperative learning. To develop cooperative skills, we sequence skills to teach students. These skills are demonstrated in appropriate behaviours in cooperative learning in group. When a group is considered effective if it demonstrates the skills of presentation by individuals of their solutions, discussion of the group of new knowledge and asking questions to other members to reinforce learning, and giving comments or assessment to ideas contributed by group members, encouraging participation of all members and listening to other group members. - Strategy 3. Guide teachers in process of designing cooperative learning activities. Process of cooperative learning instruction includes teachers’ activities and students’ activities.  Teachers’ activities: Teachers act as facilitators of learning activities, initiating interactions and cooperation among students and between teachers and students. This is the most important task ensuring the effectiveness of cooperative learning instructions. To deliver this task, teachers should design activities which develop creativity and dynamics of students as well as cooperative interactions of individual student. At the same time, teachers should create an active and cooperative learning environment.  Students’activities: As a center of learning, students are not objective of learning, they are also motivating elements for learning. They need to attain self-regulation skill to develop knowledge via their own actions and behaviors and via cooperation with peers and 14 with teachers. Activities performed by students in group work are actually self-regulated learning activities to obtain new knowledge through self-development and social interaction. - Strategy 4. Practice of cooperative learning instruction at lower secondary schools. The strategy includes the following contents:  Pilot strategies and process of cooperative teaching by teachers who have been trained in cooperative learning  Practice and reinforce cooperative learning and teaching skill in academic group to turn this topic into a regular professional them for learning among teachers. Professional meeting should include practice and reinforcement of cooperative learning instruction  Observing the use of cooperative learning skills is neccessary, especially to new teachers. Depending on professional learning focus, the professional group can give comments or feedback to teachers so other teachers who also observe lessons can learn from practical experience.  Organize seminars at schools Conditions for implementation of strategies - Create favourable conditions for implementing cooperative learning in schools, especially in terms of equipment, teaching and learning aids required for cooperative learning. - School management board should arrange time for professional group to organize their regular professional meetings to practice cooperative learning. -Teachers should also be cooperative in their learning to give support to colleagues in the innovative teaching methodology implementation 2.3. CONNECTIONS AMONG STRATEGY GROUPS The thesis provides recommendations of two groups of strategies of which Group 1 including 3 strategies focus on professional development in cooperative learning skills. While the Group 2 including 4 strategies aims to provide teachers with practical guide in specific techniques or skills during the process of implementing cooperative learning and practice of developing cooperative learning instructions through regular professional development activities in lower secondary schools. Individual strategies in the groups of strategies have inter-linked functions, supporting one to another. If all strategies are implemented in a good sequence, they will contribute actively to the renovation process of teaching methodology in cooperative learning in schools. 2.4. CONCLUSION OF CHAPTER 2 Strategies for developing instructional skills for cooperative learning have been developed based on educational principles and the government direction as well as of the Party direction in aspects of educational reform including contents, curriculum, 15 educational program and renovation of teaching methodology at lower secondary educational level. They are also in line with standard professional competencies and qualification of lower secondary teachers. They are developed based on research on pedagogical theories, learning theory and modern educational approach (cooperation, participation and creativity etc), and studies on cooperative learning and teaching around the world which are inherited and adapted to teacher training and professional development activities for lower secondary teachers. Strategies for developing instructional skills for cooperative learning are designed in two inter-twinned groups - Group 1 of strategies focuses on developing training contents in cooperative learning which are specified in 3 strategies to help teachers to access to modern instruction approach, one requirement for development of instructional skills for cooperative learning for lower secondary teachers participating in in-service teacher training courses. - Group 2 of strategies in related to practice and reinforcement of cooperative teaching skills for lower secondary teachers. This group consists of 4 strategies which support practice and application of cooperative learning in order to develop professional skills among the professional groups. It also helps to promote self-studying of cooperative learning skills by teachers. The two groups of strategies support one another to develop cooperative learning and teaching skills for lower secondary teachers. Each group consists of specific strategies which cover the fundamental elements such as objective, contents, conditions, feasibility and its practice. Chapter 3 ASSESSMENT OF STRATEGIES FOR DEVELOPING COOPERATIVE LEARNING SKILLS FOR LOWER SECONDARY TEACHERS Due to limited conditions to unlikely experiment any strategies in development of skills in cooperative learning for lower secondary teachers as recommended in our research paper, we have combined different approaches for assessment of feasibility and effectiveness of these strategies which include 1) pedagogical experiment; 2) Observations of instructional skills for cooperative learning of lower secondary teachers in class; 3) reflection of teachers of instructional skills for cooperative learning and 4) asking ideas and comments from specialists. 3.1. PEDAGOGICAL EXPERIMENT 3.1.1 Objective: To verify feasibility and effectiveness of these strategies in developing instructional skills for cooperative learning of lower secondary teachers (instructional skills will influence learning results of students). 16 3.1.2. Implementation Before pedagogical experiment, we organised a thematic teacher training in cooperative learning for lower secondary teachers. Contents of this training course includes the provision of knowledge of cooperative learning and instructions for cooperative learning, provision of a set of essential skills for teachers to practice cooperative learning to improve educational quality, and practice of instruction using cooperative learning. After the training, we conducted an experiment of sets of skills introduced during the training into the teaching process in schools as introduced in our research paper. We selected an experimental class as a focus group and a comparative class to compare results. Through the assessment of learning results of students in the focus class to test the feasibility and effectiveness of strategies for developing cooperative teaching and learning used by teachers. Size and location of the experiment: 3 lower secondary schools in different locations including TayNinh town, one district in rural area and one district in bordering area were selected. In each school, we selected 3 classes as the focus group and 3 classes for comparision. 3.1.3. Contents for experiment: Maths grade 9, Vietnamese Grade 7 and Geography Grade 9 were selected for the experiment. Lessons were designed following the process and procedures as recommended in the research paper. 3.1.4. Method of experiment 3.1.4.1. Select focus class and comparision class: learning abilities and cognitive development of students in these two classes are equal. Each class includes 40 to 45 students on average. 3.1.4.2. Select teachers teaching in experimented classes and in comparision classes: Teachers teaching in the experimented classes are those who received training in instructional skills for cooperative learning while teachers teaching in non-experimental class are not trained yet. 3.1.4.3. Discussion with teachers in experiment methodology Require teachers to follow steps and strategies in process of cooperative teaching as being trained through the teacher training course 3.1.4.4. Duration of the experiment In August 2008, teachers and management staff were trained in instructional skills for cooperative learning. Experiment was conducted from September 2008 to April 2009. 3.1.4.5. Assessment method of learning results of students: score ranks of the MOET was applied which details as follows: 1) below 5 is ranked as bad, 2) from 5 upwards to below 6.5 are ranked average, 3) 6,5 scores upwards to below 8 are ranked good and 4) from 8 to 10 are ranked as excellent. 17 3.1.5. Results of the experiment Results of learning performance of students are processed following statistic principles. 3.1.5.1. Statistics of Vietnamese literature grade 7 in all 3 schools 0,0 20,0 40,0 60,0 80,0 100,0 120,0 3 4 5 5,5 6 6,5 7 7,5 8 8,5 9 9,5 TN Đ/ra DC Đ/ra Graphic 3.3.Lines show converging frequency of experimented classes and non-experimented classes Comments: In the above graphic, lines showing results in experimented classes lied on the right compared to the results of the non-experimented classes. Thus in 3 schools, results of students' performance in all experimented class are higher than in the non- experimented classes. 3.1.5.2. Statistic of Maths grade 9 in all 3 schools .0 20.0 40.0 60.0 80.0 100.0 120.0 3 4 5 5.5 6 6.5 7 7.5 8 8.5 9 9.5 10 TN Đ/ra DC Đ/ra Graphic 3.9. Lines show converging frequency of experimented classes and non-experimented classes Comments: In the above graphic, line of experimented classes is on the right of the non-experimented classes. It can be concluded that for Maths grade 9, results of students in all 3 schools in experimented classes are higher than those of the non-experimented classes. 18 3.1.5.3. Statistic results of Geography Grade 9 ,0 20,0 40,0 60,0 80,0 100,0 120,0 4 5 5,5 6 6,5 7 7,5 8 8,5 9 9,5 10 TN Đ/ra DC Đ/ra Graphic 3.16. Lines show converging frequency of experimented classese and non- experimented classes Comments: - Frequency lines of the experimented classes are always on the right in comparision to the non-experimented classes (in Graphic 3.16). Thus it can be confirmed that application of cooperative learning in Geography has been initially feasible and successful, contributing to the improved quality of this subject. From results compared between the experimented classes and non-experimented classes in all experimented subjects, we can give a general conclusion as follows: - Average score (mean X ) of the experimented classes in all 3 subjects are higher than the average scores of the non-experimented classes. - Deviation coefficient of variation (Cv%) of the experimented classes in all 3 subjects are lower than those in the non-experimented classes, it means that the results of the experimented classes are more accurate and stable compared to those in the non- experimented classes. - Identify and check the reliability of deviations between the two average scores of the experimented classes and non-experimented classes, following formula of td, we find that td is always bigger than tα, it means that reliability of deviations between these two variables are meaningful 3.2. OBSERVATIONS AND ASSESMENT OF SKILL DEVELOPMENT OF TEACHERS To test the effect of instructional system for cooperative learning on the quality of cooperative learning of students, we conducted other methods such as observations of lessons using cooperative learning; discussion with teachers using cooperative learning and talk to students in classes using cooperative learning apart from other assessment methods described above. 19 3.2.1. Talks to teachers and students 3.2.2. Observations, assessment of instructional skill development in cooperative learning of teachers To assess the development of instructional skills for cooperative learning of teachers, we observed teaching activities of teachers through lesson observation sheet. - Contents for observations: Selected 9 essential skills in cooperative learning and teaching for observations which are presented in the table 3.19 and 3.20. - Conducting lessons observations: Organize core teachers and educational management staff of the provincial and district level into 2 groups for lessons observations of two target groups: Group 1 observed classes with teachers who were trained in cooperative learning and Group 2 observed classes with teachers who are not yet trained in these skills. - Observation venue: Selected 6 lower secondary schools from 3 districts. + In each school, group observed 3 classes of Grade 6,7,9 in two lessons of Literature Grade 6 and 2 lessons of Maths Grade 9 and one lesson of History Grade 7; both experimented and non- experimented classes are observed with equal number of lessons and subjects. Competencies and qualification of teachers teaching in these classes are equal. In total, both groups observed 60 sessions of which 30 sessions were taught by teachers who have been trained and 30 sessions were taught by teachers who have not been trained. - Assessment criteria of observation results: + Excellent: Use skills fluently and creative activeness among students during their cooperative learning process; + Good: Use skills with effectiveness of instructional skills used for cooperative learning in class; however the fluency is not so strong. + Average: Use skills however effectiveness is not so high, teachers are not confident in using these skills yet; + Bad: Not using any skills for cooperative learning or using some skills but these skills are not clearly performed and not so effective. Summary of results: in 6 observed schools: Comments: Group 1: Ratio of teachers using skills with satisfied level reaches 60% to 70% meaning that instructional skills in cooperative learning of teachers who have been trained were demonstrated well. However a number of skills are not satisfied accounting for 4% to 9%, especially faced by teachers with less experience in using these instructions, therefore more practice is required. Comments: Group 2: Teachers have not developed thorough understanding and principles of cooperative teaching, so they could not demonstrate clear process of cooperative teaching and learning as well as typical skills of cooperative learning such as interdependency of students. Thus it can be clear that teachers who have not been trained 20 in these skills do not have a good understanding nor application of these skills, therefore effectiveness of these lessons are limited. * General comments to observations and assessment of development process of cooperative teaching skills Through observation results in both groups of teachers, it is clear that teachers who have been trained in cooperative learning understand fundamental requirements of the instructions required for cooperative learning, it means that in service teacher training for teachers in instructional skills for cooperative learning is valid in developing profession of teachers. 3.3. CONSULTATIONS WITH SPECIALISTS OR EXPERTS 3.3.1. Assessment of feasibility and effectiveness of strategies for developing instructional skills for cooperative learning 3.3.1.1. Objective: Assess feasibility and effectiveness of strategies for developing cooperative teaching skills as recommended in the research paper. 3.3.1.2. Contents and methods We used method of consultation: collecting ideas from researchers, educational managers at provincial level, from lecturers at teacher training colleges, school principals and deputy school principals who are responsible for professional development, lower secondary teachers to identify feasibility and effectiveness of the strategies for skill development via questionaire. Contents of questionaire include two groups of strategies as recommended in the research paper (form 4 in the annex). 3.3.1.3. Assessment results: following statistic data processing, these strategies are necessary 3.3.2. Assessment of skill development for cooperative learning of lower secondary teachers (after teachers participating in the in service teacher training course) 3.3.2.1. Objectives - To understand the skill development in cooperative learning of teachers and management staff who have been trained and applied in their teaching. - To collect ideas or comments to the process of cooperative teaching and lesson planning/design. 3.3.2.2. Contents and methods: Collect questionaire (independent filling) of 211 teachers and 39 educational management staff. Contents of the questionaire include training contents which are grouped in 3 categories of cooperative teaching skills. 3.3.2.3. Results a. Development of instructional skills for cooperative learning After participating in the teacher training course in cooperative learning, almost all teachers believe that they have attained these skills at good level. However, we think that teachers are only good at initial steps in using these skills in lessons; they need to practice 21 skills more to obtain the fluency. This is also a strong recommendation to educational management institutes in teacher training in instructional skills for cooperative learning in schools. b. Assessment of process of teaching a cooperative lesson and sample of a lesson design Management staff and teachers agree that procedures of a cooperative lesson and samples of a lesson design can be replicated. They also agree that instructional skills for cooperative learning is appropriate to the general pedagogical skill and cooperative learning in lower secondary schools which can be applied and scaled up. 3.4. CONCLUSION OF CHAPTER 3 3.4.1. Initial experiment results show that teachers using cooperative learning have positively affected learning results of students. Almost all students in the experimented classes are interested in learning and strategies used by teachers following cooperative learning theory. As results, learning performance of students in these classes is higher than in the non-experimented classes. Observations also prove the quality of teachers’ skill development in cooperative learning of those who have been trained, promoting a joyful learning environment for students so they learn better. 3.4.2. Through survey questionaire filled by teachers after participating in the training and practice at schools also show that teachers and management staff have a good understanding of essential elements of cooperative learning as well as understanding of factors affecting quality of cooperative learning instruction. All respondents believe that they have obtained good skills and have a good understanding of cooperative learning instructions. It is also a good condition for developing cooperative learning instruction further. 3.4.3. Through consultation with experts and educational management staff, most of teachers and management staff confirm that strategies presented in the two groups of strategies as recommended in the research paper are feasible and effective, of which strategies belong to group 1 are more feasible since it is related to developing training contents and developing skills for teachers of which sets of instructional skills required for cooperative learning are emphasized. The group 2 which consists of 4 strategies also receives high support. 3.4.4. Teachers and educational management staff agree that procedures for a cooperative teaching and sample of a lesson design are appropriate and should be replicated. Respondents also believe that the sets of instructional skills introduced in the teacher training course are appropriate for general pedagogical skills and for cooperative learning which can be replicated. 22 3.4.5. It can be said that results from experiments, pilots and tests have demonstrated objectivity of feasibility and effectiveness of strategies for skill development in cooperative learning for lower secondary teachers through teacher training activities as recommended in the research paper in areas of training contents and sets of cooperative learning and teaching skills, and through self-development of teachers. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS 1. CONCLUSION 1.1. The innovative teaching methodology in lower secondary schools is contributing to the holistic improvement of educational quality for the young generation. Cooperative learning in the lower secondary schools is modern trends which give more specifics of the renovation of teaching methodology in this educational level, at the same time provide access to the world modern theory of education. 1.2. Cooperative tasks are complicated requiring cooperation among students and between teachers and students. Additionally, real life situations require individuals develop cooperative competencies for problem solving. In the modern society, in all areas of life, cooperative competencies among individuals are vital competencies, especially when individuals are facing their own challenges or societal concerns. 1.3. In structure of personality of a teacher, professional competencies are demonstrated in holistic approach of a teacher in organizing teaching and learning activities. Of which competencies to organize cooperative learning are very vital in teaching and among professional network and with learners. Thanks to this competency, teachers never stop in their learning to ensure that their educational activities are successful and especially to develop new competencies for students in a new trend of globalization. 1.4. Results of the innovative teaching methodology in regular schools have been put in practice; however changes in interpersonal skill development of learners are still slow. The research paper focuses on solving the problems relating to skill development for cooperative learning for lower secondary teachers by developing a set of fundamental skills for teachers. The practice shows that teachers’ skill in cooperative learning is limited, though teachers have some initial understanding of this methodology and theory. 1.5. The research paper identifies a comprehensive and scientific system of strategies for skill development in cooperative learning, of which the strategy group 1 focuses on the development of training contents for teachers with a realistic set of skills required for cooperative learning helping teachers in the implementation of innovative teaching methodology. In practice, teachers can use these skills for effective instructions of all subjects. 23 1.6. Responses from teachers and management staff show that a procedure of cooperative teaching and a sample of lesson design of cooperative learning are appropriate and can be replicated widely to contribute to the innovative teaching methodology implementation. Results from experiments shows the increased learning outcomes of students demonstrated in the increased specific behaviors of more interest in learning, group work, activeness, confidence during the learning process. Ideas and comments from teachers and management staff to the strategies for skill development in cooperative learning through in service teacher training and professional development activities at schools together with self- regulated learning of teachers as recommended in the paper show feasibility and effectiveness of these strategies. 2. RECOMMENDATIONS From the research results and to turn proposed strategies into practice, we would give the following recommendations 2.1. At macro level, MOET should revise the timeline for pedagogical and professional development subject in teacher training colleges or institutions, especially in areas of education studies and instructions of different subjects. MOET should give clear directions to curriculum development council to take practical situations from general schools and new trends in the world in instructions for developing curriculum. 2.2. Training institutions, faculties of educational psychology and pedagogical lecturers should develop specific plans to increase opportunities for students to expose to schools so they can develop practical skills, turning learning theory into practical situations of teaching and learning to increase active learning of students in line with the trend of renovation of teaching and learning methodology which emphasized cooperative learning in our country. 2.3. Lecturers and trainers should be active in learning and updating new learning theories and general educational philosophies as well as modern instructions to provide teacher trainees with both theoretical and practical situations and contemporary pedagogy meeting new demands of development of general schools. 2.4. Competencies of lower secondary teachers in cooperative learning should be developed in pre-service programs at teacher training institutions. More seminars in educational psychology and cooperative learning and teaching should be organized for students. More exposures and practices for teacher trainees should be organized following group work strategy, participatory learning and problem solving which requires the practice of cooperative learning, efforts from individuals and from groups. 2.5. Criteria of instructional skills in cooperative learning should be emphasized in recruitment for lower secondary teachers. Additionally, the new policy of school standards should provide conditions to ensure the minimum standards for cooperative learning. For 24 instance, conditions for space in classrooms and staffing plan as well as conditions to access to ICT for learning. 2.6. MOET should increase extra-curriculum educational activities when implementing the new secondary education curriculum and program. At the same time, curriculum should be designed with flexibility so teachers can organize active cooperative learning. 2.7. Training institutions should pay attention to the strategies of regular in-service teacher training and professional development activities focusing on the development of competencies in cooperative learning for teachers.

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