Cooperative Approach in Language Learning and Teaching

Viktorija Mažeikienė, Giedrė Valūnaitė-Oleškevičienė

Abstract


Teaching ESP (English for Specific Purposes) or professional language is essential at the university level. It focuses on the language largely specific to a subject and contains context-bound items used by learners in the classroom to express and understand curricular concepts. However, researchers continue to provide evidence showing that eventually productive language skills (speaking and writing) and comprehension skills (reading and listening) are not all mastered equally in ESP classroom. Sometimes students may not have enough chances to initiate a conversation in the classroom setting. A cooperative approach might seem to be the solution that enables enhancement of interaction and communication. Interaction in the classroom influences academic, cognitive and social development of students. Participation in group discussion provides students with opportunities to use content based language in a meaningful context. Through discussion and negotiation they have a chance to paraphrase and explain the key concepts which aid in their learning. Students also relate the newly received information with acquired information. Group discussions enhance the cognition processes through thought provoking and challenging exchange of ideas. Students have to react immediately, shape ideas in their cognition processes. In addition, group work helps to increase motivation while creating real life situations where opinions are shared and shaped. In the process of group dynamics students focus on peer interaction, learning social skills (active listening, giving opinions, encouragement, etc.) which shapes their interaction with the teacher as well. To sum up, teachers can improve students’ competences immensely in ESP classroom by implementing cooperative learning.

Keywords


professional language; cooperative approach; social skills; group dynamics; language skills

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236