Keyword

Collaborative learning, group work, English for Specific Purposes, workplace, higher education, Lebanon

Abstract

The effectiveness of collaborative learning (CL) on students’ learning and their classroom interaction as well as on preparing students for the workplace has been stressed in a lot of the literature (Saba ‘Ayon, 2013a; Gillies, 2008; Ghaith, 2003; Abram et al., 2002; King, 2000; Johnson, et al., 1995; Shachar and Sharan, 1994; and Johnson and Johnson, 1986 among others) and (Beckman, 1990; Musa, at al., 2011) respectively. Due to these benefits, the researcher incorporates CL in her teaching strategies in two advanced ESP courses at a private Lebanese English-speaking university. However, quite a number of her students are reluctant to work collaboratively and express their preferences to her to work individually. Therefore, the researcher aims in this research study to examine (1) students’ attitudes towards working collaboratively and (2) students’ perceptions of the effectiveness of CL on (a) their learning as well as (b) their acquisition of essential skills required in the workplace such as problem-solving, teamwork, flexibility, and tolerance. The researcher employs a mixed method approach and uses different data-collection methods. The findings, which are analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively, reveal that most participants have a positive attitude towards CL. However, past negative experiences with CL, poor group dynamics, and absence of instructor’s support contribute to students’ negative disposition towards CL. Besides, the participants perceive CL a


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