Students and Teachers: Trouble Shared, Trouble Halved

Nalini Arumugam


ABSTRACT: The study reported here sought to investigate the use of the Cooperative Learning (CL henceforth) approach in the English as Second Language (ELS henceforth) writing classrooms at institutions of higher learning. More specifically, it took a closer look at the importance and efficacy of the use of CL strategies in teaching writing skills as perceived by ESL learners and teachers. A mixed-design approach was adopted in data collection. Information was derived via questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The results indicated a favourable view of CL as an instructional approach. Both teachers and learners viewed this approach to be effective as it engenders a risk-free environment that promotes learning specifically writing. Nevertheless, the teachers perceived the CL approach to be time-consuming and tedious on their part as the use of CL strategy added to an already heavy work load. The respondents indicated that they needed formal training in CL to be able to make a distinction between its application and the group work that they often assigned in ESL classrooms. This study concludes that CL a beneficial pedagogical approach that could provide invaluable insights into meaningful learning in ESL classrooms of higher learning. However, small-scale and class-based CL activities can be introduced in the classroom to enhance teaching. To provide tertiary level, students with an opportunity to elevate their language skills, collaborative efforts among Curricular Designers, Administrators, and English Teachers must be initiated.

KEY WORDS: Cooperative Learning, English as Second Language, instructional approach, teachers and learners, and meaningful learning.

About the Author: Dr. Nalini Arumugam is a Lecturer at the Academy of Language Studies UiTM (MARA University of Technology), KM 26, Jalan Lendu, Alor Gajah, 78000 Melaka, Malaysia. She can be reached at: and

How to cite this article? Arumugam, Nalini. (2011). “Students and Teachers: Trouble Shared, Trouble Halved” in EDUCARE: International Journal for Educational Studies, Vol.3(2) February, pp.219-228. Bandung, Indonesia: Minda Masagi Press owned by ASPENSI in Bandung, West Java; and FKIP UMP in Purwokerto, Central Java, ISSN 1979-7877.

Chronicle of the article: Accepted (December 29, 2010); Revised (January 30, 2011); and Published (February 17, 2011).

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