Collaborative Learning-An Effective Method for Teaching Native Arabic Speaker
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Native Arabic speaking students of the Gulf Middle East region are descendants of tribes and nomadic families which may be a possible reason why they are social constructivists when it comes to learning. Most prefer a learning environment in which they are actively engaged learners within a group. Native Arabic speaking students are social so best benefit from collaborative learning methods in particular from cooperative learning. Collaborative learning is an educational approach that involves groups of learners working together to solve a problem, complete a task, or create a product. (Lejeune, 1999). Cooperative Learning is a teaching arrangement that refers to small, heterogeneous groups of students working together to achieve a common goal (Kagan,1994). According to Vygotsky’sSocial Development Theory; social interaction plays a fundamental role in the process of cognitive development. The purpose of this paper is to illustrate why collaborative learning is an effective teaching method in language education with non- native English speakers (with focus on native Arabic speakers). Collaborative and cooperative learning styles are effective in the ESL classroom with native Arabic speakers because it helps students to share ideas, stimulates critical thinking, helps students to take control and invest in their learning with structural guidance from their teachers, teachers take the role of learners, students can become teachers, and every student gets to be an equal participant in the given task. Collaborative learning is also an effective teaching style that promotes social skills amongst students that can be used both in the classroom and outside in natural situations. It helps introverted students feel more confident about socializing with their peers. When I divide my students into groups or pairs using collaborative or cooperative learning styles; work is done with deeper concentration along with higher critical thinking skills.