About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1219-1229
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-613-9386-2
ISSN: 2340-1117

Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain

THE EFFECT OF TEAMWORK ON OVERALL PERFORMANCE IN AN ENGLISH STUDIES CLASS

A. Landa

University of the Basque Country (SPAIN)
This study presents the results of a 4-year long investigation on the potential impact of the use of teamwork activities on the students’ involvement in classroom practice and the effect of the latter on the level of student success in a 2nd year linguistics subject in English Studies.

A teamwork set of related activities built around a linguistics problem was designed in order to enhance student involvement in their own learning process. This set of activities was first implemented in the academic year 2008-2009 with two clear goals: (i) introduce teamwork as part of the practice in Humanities, and (ii) enhance student participation.

The relevance of (ii) is partly explained by the fact that the subject for which the activities were designed is taught in English which is an L2/L3 for most students involved. This, together with the fact that all classes are interactive, makes it really difficult for students to develop all course competencies properly if they choose not to participate in the class activities. The main competencies of the course, all related to the general skill of doing linguistic analysis at an introductory level, are the following:

- Construct/formulate hypotheses basing on linguistic evidence
- Identify/provide evidence in support of/against a morphosyntactic hypothesis
- Apply constituency tests and identify constituents
- Analyze and represent sentence structure
- Explain grammaticality contrasts basing on syntactic tests and other more complex theoretical arguments and principles

These skills cannot be properly acquired without actively taking part in class activities in which the different stages of linguistic analysis are put into practice. However, because of the medium-to-large size of the groups it was found every year that there were some students who were not getting involved in the groups’ dynamics.

Taking as our starting hypothesis that if students were made feel responsible for their learning process they would participate more and would get better results, a teamwork task was designed that could make them feel responsible for the activities surrounding this practice and, in turn, for the rest of the course tasks. For this activity, all teams – formed by 3-to-5 self-selected members – had to provide their solution to a linguistic problem, but before being presented the data each of them would be working on they were introduced to some basic notions of teamwork and asked to choose a name for the team and assign different roles to each student within the same team (cf. Winter 2000). The idea behind role assignment and work distribution was to emphasize the notion of interdependence (McGrath 1984) among the team members and make them feel responsible for both their part of the work and the final solution, which would be presented in writing and orally at the end of the process.

Data have been gathered over a 3-year period geared towards both determining the level of student satisfaction and finding correlations between teamwork tasks and student overall performance. These data have been analyzed in contrast with those obtained in the academic year previous to the implementation of teamwork as part of the course teaching methodology. The analysis of the data shows a very high degree of general satisfaction with the activity which correlates with a higher performance in the independent tasks tested at the end of the term during 3 years in comparison with the results of the control group.
@InProceedings{LANDA2010THE,
author = {Landa, A.},
title = {THE EFFECT OF TEAMWORK ON OVERALL PERFORMANCE IN AN ENGLISH STUDIES CLASS},
series = {2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN10 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-9386-2},
issn = {2340-1117},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Barcelona, Spain},
month = {5-7 July, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {1219-1229}}
TY - CONF
AU - A. Landa
TI - THE EFFECT OF TEAMWORK ON OVERALL PERFORMANCE IN AN ENGLISH STUDIES CLASS
SN - 978-84-613-9386-2/2340-1117
PY - 2010
Y1 - 5-7 July, 2010
CI - Barcelona, Spain
JO - 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN10 Proceedings
SP - 1219
EP - 1229
ER -
A. Landa (2010) THE EFFECT OF TEAMWORK ON OVERALL PERFORMANCE IN AN ENGLISH STUDIES CLASS, EDULEARN10 Proceedings, pp. 1219-1229.
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