Date of Award

2007

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Degree Program

Global Leadership - with a specialization in Educational Leadership

Department

College of Education

First Advisor

William J. Leary

Second Advisor

Cheryl Serrano

Third Advisor

Adam Kosnitzky

Abstract

The primary purpose of this study was to explore and analyze Taiwanese university students in the effectiveness of cooperative learning strategies in the acquisition of English. This study employed the Theory of Second Language Acquisition (SLA) and Cooperative Learning (CL) as the framework to explain the interrelationship among second language learner factors, cooperative learning strategies, and English language proficiency (ELP).

This nonexperimental, correlational study used convenience sampling. Participants from Taiwan received e-mail invitations and voluntarily completed the online survey questionnaires. The survey was administered to a sample of undergraduate students who had attended the daytime Fortune Institute of Technology of Kaohsiung in Taiwan and had studied English as a foreign language. There were 396 online questionnaires applicable for data analysis.

There were three significant variables in this research, including language learner factors, cooperative learning strategies, and English language proficiency. The independent variables were language learner factors and cooperative learning strategies. The dependent variable was English language proficiency. Language learner factors were measured by Taiwanese university students' perceptions of learning English and included six dimensions: motivational intensity, language classroom anxiety, language aptitude, classroom social distance, frequency of participation in cooperative learning, and English language proficiency. The content of the online survey included two parts. The first part contained socio-demographic characteristics of gender, age, education category and years of experience learning English. The second part inquired about language learner factors, cooperative learning strategies, and English language proficiency. The data analysis employed the statistical software of SPSS to conduct descriptive analysis, multiple regression analysis, reliability analysis, and validity analysis.

Findings indicated that learner factors of motivation, anxiety, language aptitude, social distance, and learning strategies had a strong positive and significant relationship with English language proficiency. In addition, frequency of participation in cooperative learning strategies had a moderately strong relationship with English language acquisition proficiency. Findings also indicated age and gender of learner factors rarely appear to affect English language proficiency, but these may be fundamental requirements for English language acquisition proficiency. The practical implications, limitations, and recommendations for future study are further discussed.

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