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Cooperative Language Learning


Background Cooperative Language Learning (CLL) is part of a more general instructional approach also known as Collaborative Learning (CL). It has been defined as follows: Cooperative learning is group activity organized so that learning is dependent on the socially structured exchange of information between learners in groups and in which each learner is held accountable for his or her own learning and is motivated to increase the learning of others. (Olsen and Kagan 1992:8) CLL in this context sought to do the following: raise the achievement of all students, including those who are gifted or academically handicapped. help the teacher build positive relationships among students. give students the experiences they need for healthy social, psychological, and cognitive development. replace the competitive organizational structure of most classrooms and schools with a team-based, high-performance organizational structure. (Johnson, Johnson, and Holubec 1994:2) CLL goals are: to provide opportunities for naturalistic second language acquisition through the use of interactive pair and group activities to provide teachers with a methodology to enable them to achieve this goal and one that can be applied in a variety of curriculum settings (e.g., content-based, foreign language classrooms; main streaming) to enable focused attention to particular lexical items, language structures, and communicative functions through the use of interactive tasks. To provide opportunities for learners to develop successful learning and communication strategies To enhance learner motivation and reduce learner stress and to create a positive affective classroom climate Approach Theory of language CLL is founded on some basic premises about the interactive/cooperative nature of language and language learning and builds on these premises in several ways. Premise 1 mirrors the title of a book on child language titled Born to Talk (Weeks 1979). All normal children growing up in a normal environment learn to talk.

We are born to talk we may think of ourselves as having been programmed to talk communication is generally considered to be the primary purpose of language (Weeks 1979:1). Premise 2 is that most talk/speech is organized as conversation. Human beings spend a large part of their lives engaging in conversation and for most of them conversation is among their most significant and engrossing activities (Richards and Schmidt 1983:117). Premise 3 is that conversation operates according to a certain agreed upon set of cooperative rules or maxims (Grice 1975). Premise 4 is that one learns how these cooperative maxims are realized in ones native language through casual, everyday conversational interaction. Premise 5 is that one learns how the maxims are realized in a second language through participation in cooperatively structured interactional activities. --------------------The End------------------------