Two Thai teachers' perceptions of cooperative learning

Year: 2008

Author: Nuntrakune, Tippawan, Nason, Rod, Kidman, Gillian

Type of paper: Refereed paper

The need for educational reform in Thailand has become increasingly apparent. Recent policy changes thus have focused on expanding education opportunities and on the implementation of more student-centered pedagogies (Carter, 2006). A suggested way of bringing about the changes necessary to improve the standard of education in primary schools is to incorporate cooperative learning into Thai primary school classrooms.

In order to address the perceived need to introduce socio-constructivist practices such as cooperative learning into Thai schools, the author engaged in an action research study in which she developed and implemented a cooperative learning program within two classrooms in a Thai primary school. This paper focuses on two Thai teachers’ perceptions about the benefits of cooperative learning and the roles of the teachers in cooperative learning classroom.

The study found that the two teachers had constructed different levels of perceptions about the benefits of cooperative learning and the roles of the teacher. These findings indicated that Thai teachers who are relatively inexperienced, lacking in confidence and with little or no experience with group work strategies such as peer tutoring need professional development programs conducted over a period of a semester In addition the professional development programs for teachers being conducted over a longer period of time than what occurred in this study, the findings also indicate that teacher professional programs need to provide additional workshops to improve teachers’ understanding of socio-constructivist principles underlying cooperative learning and teachers’ roles within cooperative learning classrooms.

Key words: cooperative learning, perception, professional development