Go With the Millennials

Post date: Mar 23, 2018 12:41:00 AM



Innovations on teaching English as a second language has often been the focus of the Department of Education. The higher academe has always planned and designed innovative strategies to make learning English motivating and rewarding to every learner. The search has often been based on theories, concepts related to learning. In today’s newly implemented curriculum, K-12, the learners are considered the millennial, distinctly described as individuals who reached adulthood around the turn of the 21st century. Millennials grew up in an electronics-filled and increasingly online and socially-networked world. They are the generation that has received the most marketing attention. Described as the most ethnically diverse generation, Millennials tend to be tolerant of difference, confident, aggressive, and tend to follow their dreams.

Inside the classroom, they would stand and talk rather than listen, act rather than lectured, experiment and move rather than observe. They are full of ideas but sometimes experience disillusionment when their expectations are not met, their skills not enhanced and their talents not applied. They live on the theories of learning that suggest learning by doing. Cognitivism by Piaget, Vygotsky and Gagne enables their thinking skills as processing, storing, retrieving information, and creating associations and knowledge useful for living.

The theory of Constructivism which states that the learners would construct new ideas or concepts based on their past and current knowledge, and social interaction which serves as motivation for the learners to share and express themselves and later on modify knowledge they previously had agrees with the ideas embedded in the Cooperative Learning Theory.

For this reason, educators focus on making connections between facts and fostering new understanding in students. Instructors tailor their teaching strategies to student responses and encourage students to analyse, interpret, and predict information. Teachers also rely heavily on open-ended questions and promote extensive dialogue among student. They would construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current/past knowledge, social interactions, and this motivation affect the construction.

Cooperative learning, defined as a group learning activity and Cooperative Learning theory, an offshoot of Constructivism, incorporate the idea that the best learning occurs when students are actively engaged in the learning process and working in collaboration with other students to accomplish a shared goal. While Constructivism focuses on personal experience as the foundation for learning new material, Cooperative Learning utilizes not only the student’s own experience to solidify knowledge, but also uses the experiences of others. Both theories emphasize the importance of interactivity with respect to the design and implementation of lesson plans.

In teaching the second language cooperative learning finds a leeway to a traditional lecture method, and integrate the theory of constructivism, thus, in consideration of the nature of the 21ist century learners of cooperative learning as an effective strategy to teach the second language.

Guided by Behavioural Learning Theory, Morgan states that students will participate in group if there is the promise of rewards. Therefore rewards should be evident in cooperative learning activities for both group and individual. According to Slavin (1987) motivational goals on this theory emphasize on rewards that encourage students cooperation or working as one. The role of these rewards is to make a way students attain their personal goals through the success of his group. Each one motivates one another to exert maximum effort for the group’s success. Their behavior towards learning is shaped by the motivating factor of rewards.

Another basis for cooperative learning in its implementation inside the classroom is the Social Interdependence Theory. According to Johnson &Johnson, (2006) Social Interdependence exists when the accomplishment of each individual goal is affected by the actions of another. It implies that Social Interdependence Theory believes that cooperation is a result of positive interdependence among individuals ‘goals. A person’s interaction with another is determined by the presence of positive interdependence, thus the stronger the positive interdependence is, the better interaction one establish with and among others. However, there are two kinds of social interdependence; the positive and negative cooperation. Positive interdependence exists when individuals can reach their goals when others also cooperate to reach their goals while negative interdependence exists when the success of individuals mean the failure of another group of individuals.

Another justification of cooperative learning strategy is the fact Piaget is pointing out

on the role of social interaction in the success of learning. The social interaction theory claims that asking for meaning through interaction increase students’ learning and comprehension and brings greater impact on language learning. This justifies the exercise of cooperative learning that provides a vast of opportunities for communication among the learners. The wider the environment for communication and negotiation especially without the teacher’s feedback, the more they learn from each other and the more achievement they acquire.

Likewise, Vygotsky’s view of collaborative learning and interaction like observing, practising with peer support, and dialogue with each other help in the internalization of cognitive functions. He also stressed on the importance of cooperation with more competent peers that produces more enjoyable and freer way of communication. Through this, an individual develops his way of thinking.

Personally, I as a teacher believe on the effectiveness of Cooperative Learning Theory as I practiced it for long years and had seen the key ingredient why the millennial succeed in this strategy. Students love interaction and collaborative learning tasks which inspire them to belong and learn from each other.

In Cooperative learning, there is positive interdependence which means that a group has a common goal and that is to achieve their goals. Whatever report, poster or class presentation they had to perform, each one thinks that he should perform his role well to contribute for the overall success. Whether they succeed or fail as a group, each one is responsible for it and they rejoice or hurt as one.

And most of all, cooperative learning establishes personal bonding through Face-to face group interaction, a small group interaction where everyone is encouraged to contribute through explanation, solving problem, checking understanding, discussing concepts connecting present with the past learning, and sharing knowledge to others. This promotes success because they need to work together, complete work and engage students to learn from a group work

Teachers should be innovative, updated and permissive, letting a class into a cooperative learning styles which is a reflection that he can go with the millenials’ way; happy group learning. GO WITH THE MILLENIALS!