Effects of Cooperative Versus Competitive Learning on EFL Students’ Writing
9 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2013 Last revised: 29 Dec 2013
Date Written: December 1, 1994
Some educators and psychologists see competition as a cornerstone in the development of self-reliance and as a powerful motive in stimulating effort and productivity. Others see competition as a source of hostility, self-doubt and anxiety which in turn decrease learning outcomes. Similarly, some educators and psychologists see that cooperation can be a beneficial alternative to competition as it (the former) decreases prejudice and increases student motivation, interaction and achievement. Others see that cooperation is a source of problems such as free-riding, diffusion of responsibility and loafing and that these problems may in turn lead to motivation losses among group members and debilitate team performance. In the field of writing, no studies have as yet focused directly on the effects of cooperative versus competitive learning on students’ writing. The first purpose of this study, therefore, was to compare the effects of cooperative versus competitive learning experiences on EFL students’ writing. A second purpose was to explore the effects of gender on the overall writing performance under cooperative and competitive conditions.
The subjects for the study were 88 EFL students at the university level. These participants were randomly assigned to the two treatment conditions. The two groups were then instructed by the researcher using the same content but different methods. The instruments used in the study were: I) The Michigan Composition Test (Model 2), and (2) An Analytic Scoring Instrument developed by the researcher (1991).
Statistical analysis of the data using the t-test revealed a significant difference between the mean gain scores of the two groups, with respect to both the quality and quantity of writing in favor of the cooperative group (t=2.13, p<0.05; t=2.80, p<0.05, respectively). The study further indicated no significant difference between the mean gain scores of boys and girls under cooperative and competitive conditions. In conclusion, these results were discussed and directions for further research were suggested.
Keywords: Cooperative Learning; Competitive Learning; Writing Skill; English as a Foreign Language
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