This article first introduces the definition of CL, and cites international experts' research findings of CL application in Junior school English reading teaching, followed by examples of CL method application in Junior school. Then it analyses its advantages and gives advice to remove deficiency when a teacher uses the method to teach reading, focusing on CL application in Junior school English reading teaching. Finally, it summarizes the whole contents.
2. Literature Review
CL has a long history in both its theory and practice, but it still doesn’t have a concise and accurate definition. Many famous linguists make different definitions. According to many famous experts, CL is the philosophy of teaching.
2.1 Definition of Cooperative Learning
“CL is the mutual engagement of participants using coordinate effort to solve problem together (koschmann, 1997).” “CL is the instructional use of small groups so that students work together to maximize their own and each other’s learning (Johnson, Johnson, Holubec, 1993).”
Spencer Kagan in an article in Educational Leadership (Dec/Jan 1989/1990) provides an excellent definition of CL by looking at general structures which can be applied to any situation. His definition provides an umbrella for the work CL specialists including the Johnsons, Slavin, Cooper, Graves and Graves, Millis, etc. It follows below: "The structural approach to CL is based on the creation, analysis and systematic application of structures, or content-free ways of organizing social interaction in the classroom. Structures usually involve a series of steps, with proscribed behavior at each step. An important cornerstone of the approach is the distinction between "structures" and "activities".文献综述
"To illustrate, teachers can design many excellent cooperative activities, such as making a team mural or a quilt. Such activities almost always have a specific content-bound objective and thus cannot be used to deliver a range of academic content. Structures may be used repeatedly with almost any subject matter, at a wide range of grade levels and at various points in a lesson plan."
Mostly, a cooperative group consists of 4-6 students. They work together in groups to reach common goals. Within CL, students benefit from sharing ideas rather than working alone. Students help one another so that all can reach some measures of success. This is in contrast with the traditional method where students work inpidually and competitively. In this educational approach, students and teachers are in a state of dynamic cooperation and together build up an intimate learning and social atmosphere in the classroom.
2.2 Studies of Cooperative Learning
2.2.1 Five basic elements of Cooperative Learning
CL theory is originated in the research of social psychology in the 20th century. Contemporary American educator Gasi Ji said: "Essentially, CL is a form of teaching, which requires students engaged in a group with 2 to 6 different characteristic members learning activities together to complete the assigned learning tasks. In each group, students usually need to cooperate and engage in a variety of learning activities which need mutual support. " In CL, there are five basic elements:
(i) Positive interdependence—Students know that they are not only responsible for their own learning, but also for their group members;
(ii) Small group and inpidual accountability—The total team score depends on completion of group tasks. Group performance will affect the inpidual's score.
(iii) Face-to-face interaction—Students have the opportunity to learn from each other, to help each other, to understand the learning content and to complete the homework;
(iv) Small group skills—Expect all students to be able to communicate effectively, to provide guidance on the activities of the group, to establish and maintain mutual trust between the team members and to effectively resolve conflicts within the group;