Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




The purpose of this study was to examine the degree to which cooperative learning affects the active participation or engagement of students in the classroom. Previous research has found that students were more engaged during lecture and classroom discourse methods of instruction (anderson & Scott, 1978). This study attempted to determine whether the instructional strategy of cooperative learning affected this result.;The sample for this study was selected from the students of two English and two social studies teachers for each instructional method (cooperative learning, lecture, and classroom discourse). Videotapes were made of each teacher's class for analysis. Each class had five students whose engagement levels were studied. The participants were students at a suburban high school in southeast Virginia.;Percent of time engaged in the learning process was estimated by dividing the number of behaviors coded as task-relevant by the total number of behaviors coded. After the rate of engagement of each instructional strategy was determined, a one-factor between-subjects design with three levels of the dependent variable, engagement of students, was used. Planned comparisons using the multiple F test were used to analyze the engagement rates for each of the three instructional strategies (lecture, classroom discourse, and cooperative learning) for each instructional area (English and social studies) and for combined subject areas to determine whether the prediction that cooperative learning had the highest engagement level was verified. Alpha was set at 0.05.;The results showed that cooperative learning techniques resulted in statistically significantly (p {dollar}<{dollar}.05) higher levels of engagement of students in the secondary classrooms studied (English and social studies) than instructional strategies using lecture or classroom discourse. In addition, there was statistically significant higher levels of engagement when cooperative learning was used in each of the subject areas English and social studies than instructional strategies using lecture or classroom discourse.;Comparisons of engagement rates in each of the subject areas studied (English and social studies) showed no statistical difference between the instructional strategies of classroom discourse and lecture.;Further research is needed to determine the effect of cooperative learning techniques in secondary subject classes other than English and social studies, to determine the amount of time needed for cooperative learning techniques to be effective, to determine whether cooperative learning techniques ultimately result in higher achievement for secondary students, to determine if a teacher's preferred teaching method influences these results and to compare the rates of engagement for English and for social studies classes when teachers are using classroom discourse and lecture methods of instruction.



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