1.1 Background to the Study
Teaching and learning at the secondary school is fast changing; group work has become an important focus in this time of pedagogical change (Burke, 2011). Group work is one strategy for group instruction which is under the learner-centered approach. It is a pedagogical approach that promotes students to students’ interaction through working in small groups to maximize their learning and reach their shared goals (Adekola, 2014).
Group learning is an instructional program in which students work in small groups to help one another master academic content. Learners in this classroom structure perceive that they are working together with other students to gain rewards. In this environment, a student’s success depends on the comparable success of other students (Chukwuyenum, Nwankwo and Toochi, 2014).
An important goal of using group work is to encourage and enable other students to succeed. Effective cooperative learning has two major components: Positive interdependence and Individual responsibility. That is, the members of the group must depend on one another to the extent that each member has responsibilities, each wants the others to succeed, and no one feels that his own success or failure will hurt the others in the group (Johnson and Johnson, 2002).
To enhance students’ achievement, group members must promote each other’s learning and success face-to-face; hold each other personally and individually accountable to do a fair share of the work, use the interpersonal and small group skills needed for collaborative efforts to be successful and process as a group how effectively members are working together (Adekola, 2014).
In education today, there are interesting goup learning strategies that will enable students to have active control over their own learning and will also enhance academic achievement (Onabanjo, 2000). According to Wichadee (2007) group learning can be structured in many different models; some of the general ones are Students’ Team Achievement Division (STAD), Teams-Games Tournament (TGT) and Jigsaw I and II.
Teachers can use any of this approach to stimulate students to acquire the knowledge as well as create interpersonal and team skills. Traditionally, classes always consist of good students (high achievers) and weak students (low achievers). The weak students sit in isolation as they gradually lose confidence in their ability to learn. Working in groups, therefore, is believed to help solve this problem as group members can complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Students who do not like to speak in a large class are more comfortable speaking out in smaller groups (Adekola, 2014).
While the term encompasses a broad array of practices, group learning, or small group work, remains an important element of active learning theory and practice (Burke, 2011).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It is evident that failure in secondary schools is as a result of the lack of interest on both the teachers and the students as the teachers resort to the use of the traditional methods which is not enhancing assimilation of subjects’ content while the student’s motivational level is drastically reduced leading to failure. This negative attitude could be reduced if students work together and learn from one another (Chukwuyenum, Nwachukwu and Toochi, 2014).
Moreover, it has been observed that senior secondary school students in Nigerian generally and Lagos state in particular are recording poor academic performance from both internal and external examinations. This may not be unconnected with the way and manner they are being taught. In recent years however, evidence abounds showing that group learning strategy tends to give students better ways of understanding concepts and improve academic performance (Ibrahim, 2003). It is believed by many that when students work in group they tend to understand each other better than when a teacher teaches them.
Research works in Nigeria also indicated that very little research efforts had been directed at group learning. Besides, group work approach has been highly recommended for teaching at all levels, as stated by the Federal Government of Nigeria (2004) in the National Policy on Education. This, therefore, tends to suggest that most teachers are not sensitized on the advantages of the use of group work, it is believed that the manner in which most schooling occurs may not be teaching students to become aware of their own learning, to think critically and to derive their own pattern of thought and meaning from content presented through the teachers. It was in attempt to bridge this gap on the knowledge of the effects of group work on students’ academic performance in senior secondary school that this study is being carried out.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The study will be conducted with the following objectives: To;
a.examine the relationship between group work and students’ academic performance in senior secondary school.
b.find out the effect of cooperative learning on student academic achievement.
c.investigate the influence of teamwork on enhancing students confidence
d.find out if collaborative learning is related to classroom success.
1.4 Research Questions
The undertaking of this research project will beam a searchlight on the following research questions;
1.What is the relationship between group work and students’ academic performance in senior secondary school?
2.What is the effect of cooperative learning on student academic achievement?
3.To what extent does teamwork enhance students’ confidence?
4.How is collaborative learning related to classroom success?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The researcher intends to test the following hypotheses in the course of the study:
H0: There is no significant relationship between group work and students’ academic performance in senior secondary school.
H0: Cooperative learning is not related to student academic achievement.