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Volume 15 Number 1, Spring 2018, Pages 1-256 PDF Download

Individual Accountability in Cooperative Learning in EFL Classrooms: More Opportunities for Peer Interaction

    Puji Astuti & Leslie Barratt

Research shows that cooperative learning (CL) supports foreign language learning (e.g., Almuslimi, 2016; Wei & Tang, 2015). However, there is little research demonstrating how CL works and, specifically, how it promotes learning, particularly individual accountability, which is a principle in CL. This article reports on part of a larger study that aimed to fill this gap by exploring the roles of individual accountability in CL in enhancing EFL learning. The study involved two secondary school EFL teachers, with 77 students in their classrooms, and four focus students. Analysis of data from participant observations, in-depth interviews, and document analysis shows that individual accountability manifests itself in a series of activities from individual, group, and class presentations as well as other peer interactions. The findings also showed that the learners had more opportunities to interact and had more interactions with their peers during CL than during conventional group work (i.e., students simply completing non-CL activities in groups). Opportunities for student-student interactions in CL activities, absent in the conventional group work, may have contributed to the EFL learners' communicative competence. However, teachers new to CL should follow the preset procedures for CL strategies to promote individual accountability and understand how these activities benefit students.

Keywords: cooperative learning, individual accountability, peer interaction