A Two-Way Evaluation of Practical Uses of Group Work Activities In ELT Course Books, S Ebadi, SV Latif, E Bahramzadeh

Tags: cooperative learning, learners, activities, ELT course books, text analysis, group works, tasks, course books, work activities, positive interdependence, interdependence, ELT, group interaction, social group, task based language teaching, areas of interest, Iran, discourse analysis, qualitative research, course book, applied linguistics, Razi University, material development, speaking activities, syllabus design, materials development
Content: ELT Voices- International Journal for Teachers of English Volume (5), Issue (2), 26-37 (2015) ISSN Number: 2230-9136 (ht t p ://www.elt voices.in) A Two-Way Evaluation of Practical Uses of Group Work Activities In ELT Course Books Saman Ebadi (Ph.D.), Shokoofeh Vakili Latif*, Elham Bahramzadeh Department of English Language, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran. *Corresponding author: s h o ko feh _ v [email protected] ah o o .co m Article reference: Ebadi, S., Vakili Lat if, S., & Bahramzadeh, E. (2015). A two -way evaluation of practical uses of group work activities in ELT course books. ELT Voices, 5 (2), 26-37. This study investigated the effectiveness of group work activ ities in five well known and randomly selected ELT course books used in Iran. Group work activ ities were analyzed based on the Jacobs and Ball`s(1996) evaluative framewo rk to find out about their possible match or mis match with cooperative learning and task based teaching principles. Later, semi-structured interviews were conducted to find out about learners' perspectives on group work activit ies . The conformity between findings of Text Analysis and interviews pointed out to the failure of group work activ ities to meet the cond ition of positive interdependence. Results also showed that most of the activ ities were one way (static) tasks which could not contribute to mean ing negotiation and language use and usage development of learners. The findings of th is study have implications for the structure of group work activit ies in ELT course books and could be used to humanize them and serve the needs of students. Index Terms: Cooperative learning, ELT course books, group work activities, task-based teaching. 1. INTRODUCTION Needs and personal development of learners can be addressed through utilizat ion of suitable group work activities in educational environ ments and course books. They can encourage cooperative learn ing and working, which in turn may lead to a mo re dynamic classroom environ ment and a more optimal learning situation. Richards and Renandya (2002) consider negotiation of meaning and motivation increase among the benefits of cooperative le arning. Group activities can also help students become more independent learners (Ellis, 2008). However, the benefits of group work activit ies is more than just contributing to learning and teaching processes. They are also tools for encouraging mutual helpfulness and participation in social activit ies. Schiefflin and Ochs (1986) argue that they help learners get familiar with the complex relationship between Social Behaviors and language forms, and in this way contribute to their socialization in target la nguage. Flowerdew (1998) considered group works from a cultural perspective and argued that in situations where confusion of values exist group work act ivities can be of great account as they lead to making and maintaining social relationships which are among the cornerstones of cooperative learning. Group work activ ities also concern human ism and faithfulness through producing socially appropriate behaviors. Ferrie (2012) believes that degree of participation in group work activ ities is d irectly related to one`s personality features. Enjoy ment of such activities, however, depends on his academic and literacy ab ilities .
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Despite the development of a relatively rich flow of research on group work in general, few if any study provided a detailed evaluation of the structure of activit ies in ELT course books that encourage group work activit ies. The issue is of greater account when the focus is on the communicative and pedagogical needs of thousands of Iranian language learners who attend different language institutes. Therefore, the study examined the effect iveness of activit ies which based on their tit les and genres were supposed to lead to group work and interaction. 2. REVIEW OF THE RELATED LITERATURE 2.1. THEORETICAL FRAMWORK Evaluative criteria of Jacobs and Ball (1996) are supposed to be the only existing framework for analyzing the structure of group work activit ies. It considers group interaction from of Classroom Instruction and was developed cons idering views of Piaget (1926), Dewey (1966) and Vygots ky (1978) with regard to the invaluable effects of interaction n learning. Based on this formwork, interaction based learning, co mpared to the teacher fronted classrooms provides a less threatening environment to language use and more motivation to learnin g. The framewo rk pays attention to two factors explained briefly here. 2.1.1. TASK BASED language teaching Task based instruction may be considered a recent man ifestation of commun icative language teaching whose point of departure is not linguistic items but a group of tasks (Bro wn, 2001; Nunan, 2001). Richards and Renandaya (2002) regard it as one type of analytic syllabus which has developed form research on second language acquisition. Recent forms of task based teaching focus both on meaningful language use and linguistic accuracy, through enforcing learners to produce context specific utterances. Nunan (1993) believes that tasks as the building block and the single most important element in task based language teaching are selected based on their pedagogical and psycholinguistic justifications. That is, in addition to considering the actions and activities student and teachers carry out in educational conte xts syllabus designers pay attention to the linguistic and mental abilities of learners when adop ting a task based syllabus. Long (1989) distinguished pedagogical fro m target tasks, and argued that the first category actually derives from ta rget language tasks. Tasks, in addition to the just mentioned classification, have been categorized based on d ifferent factors including linguistic co mplexity, cognitive co mplexity and co mmunicat ive stress (Skehan, 1998). They are also seen form the different perspective of the degree of encouraging interaction (Long, 1990). In this way, one way (static) tasks are those that involve informat ion gap but do not guarantee interaction between group members in terms of sending and receiving informat ion. Two way (dynamic) tasks, however, meet both the two previously mentioned criteria and are supposed to lead to mean ing negotiation. Examp les of the one way tasks are g iving instruction and telling a personal story, while an exa mple of the two way task is a jigsaw activity in which each participant holds some of the informat ion necessary to complete the task. According to Long (1990) t wo way tasks generate more chances of mean ing negotiation and are of more benefit for learning. Long also made a d istinction between closed and open tasks and argued that the latter category results in more interaction and meaning negotiation in turn. The distinction Long made between one and two way tasks and close and open was used to examine the efficiency of tasks selected to be explored in this study. 2.1.2. COOPERATIVE LEARNING Cooperative learning is supposed to be a manifestation o f Vygotsky`s (1978) notion of scaffold ing and group work methods of learn ing. It is believed that through working and interacting in group activit ies learn ing and even acquisition can be facilitated (Slav in, 1990). According to Artigal (1992), what leads to second language acquisition is the interaction between speakers not some specific mental facu lty. That is, second language acquisition is a social-based process. Collaborative activities can provide learners with the chance of self-exp ress, linguistic and non-linguistic knowledge development
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and socialization to target language values and practices. They can also provide comp rehensible input and output n ecessary for learning. Collaborative activit ies are supposed to have some features if they want to lead to successful learning or acquisition. Jacobs and Ball (1996) believe that two common ly accepted elements of cooperative activities are pos itive interdependence and individual accountability. The former imp lies learners' perception of the fact that the y belong to a group and that the final success and failure of the group depend on their co -operation. The latter, however, refers to assessment of each ind ividual performance through giving the results to both the individual and the group in wh ich he works . In doing this, learners will be responsible to their contribution to group success and encourage to cooperate in completing group activities in as most effective way as they can. 2.2. RELATED STUDIES A good many of studies have explored different aspects of utilizat ion of group work activit ies. Shehadeh (2004) for example co mpared the opportunities task based group and pair work activ ities provide for modifying out puts and their take up by nonnative students of English in self and other in itiated int eractions. Shehadeh (ibid ) used the developed model of Varonis and Gass (1985b) to analyze the data he obtained through audio recording of interactions of three groups of lear ners with different levels of proficiency and finally concluded that for all leve ls, interaction in pair work provides more opportunities of output modification but their take up is quantitatively mo re in group work activ ities that include more self-in itiated interactions. Bro wn (1991) finds no statistically significant difference between closed or open and tight or loose tasks in terms of p roviding opportunities for modificat ion of statements and believes that group works that include procedural (decision making) and interpretative tasks significantly contribute to challenging students to express their thoughts and ideas into novel utterances, producing instructional or hypothetical output and thus providing lea rning opportunities for learners. Some researchers exp lored the ways through which group work interactions can be managed to lead to ideal results. Sharan and Sharan (1992) believe that long term group works and projects will lead to better results. Dishon and O'Leary (1993); however, reco mmended avoidance of keeping students together if they started to become dependent on a spe cific group. Ilola, Power, and Jacobs (1989) argue that there should be a monitor or checker student in each group who control its functioning. Richards (1995) believes that providing students with the required linguistic knowledge before starting work on group activities can lead to more success and confidence. Some studies also investigated the group work activit ies imp lemented in ELT course books. Haghverdi (2012), as a partial finding of his overall investigation of the American English File series, argued that it pays more attention to tasks that involve learners into activit ies that should be done individually simu ltaneously rather than group activities. Rahimpour (2013) investigated the overall effectiveness of Top notch books as one series of TFL materials used in Iran and with regard to its activities and tasks asserted that they do not lead to meaningful negotiation of meaning as they cannot exemp lify the real co mmunicative situations and discourse. Kelishadi and Sharifzadeh (2013) also evaluated t he overall efficacy of the just mentioned series using Littlejohn's (1998) framework. In doing that, thirty Iranian EFL teachers were required to analyze a samp le of tasks had been selected randomly fro m the series. Analyzing data, both qualitatively and quantitatively revealed that with regard to the type of interaction, tasks involved in Top Notch series main ly encourage pair and group work (45.83%), therefore, group activities in the process of learning are more important than individual activit ies (only 15.27%). Alemi, Jahangard, and Hesami (2013) argue that Top Notch and Interchange are the two most popular series that are used in Iranian Language Learning institutes and try to conform themselves to the principles of co mmunicative language teaching. They investigated their tasks based on the Nunan `s (1999) classificat ion of task types and stated that they mainly rely on linguistic tasks rather than the cognitive ones and tasks of the interchange series lead to more cooperative learning compare to those of the Top Notch. Nahrkhalaji (2012) regarded Top Notch, Head way, Cutting Edge and Interchange among the institutional or in house materia ls which are in contradiction with the general materia ls of English teaching. She
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conducted a two phases study to evaluate these text books. First phase evaluated their wh ile teaching pedagogical merits such as the attractiveness and availability whereas and the second phase included the post use efficacy including grammar and vocabulary presentation and cultural awareness they may trigger. She concluded that the ability of the activities to promote internalization by encouraging students' active participation is relatively high due to the presentation of exercises such as role p lays, Top Notch interactions, modeling conversations, problem solving activit ies, report writ ing and plenty of pair works and group works. Ghorbani (2011) exp lored the degree to which the first grade ELT text book in senior high schools in Iran conform to the commonly accepted features of EFL/ ESL te xtbooks. Ghorbani (ibid) used several checklists other researchers designed and used for evaluating ELT textbooks and mentioned that it only 63% conforms to those characteristics. With regard to its activities he also stated that most speaking activities of it just lead to pair work and question and answer type of interaction which do not allow info rmation gap. Then, they are not communicative. Ahour, Towh idiyan , and Saeid i (2014) evaluated the Iranian second grade high school ELT textbook using the Litz's (2005) checklist and argued that most of its activities can be done individually, they will not trigger g roup work interaction and hence do not conform the real co mmunicative needs of learners. Tabatabaei and Tabrizi (2010) also believe that materials in translations textbooks that are taught in Iranian universities fail to prepare interactive materials and opportunities to use their English knowledge and almost half of their activities cannot lead to the learners' independence which is supposed to develop from group interaction. This study examined group work activ ities of five recently and frequently used ELT course books to explore their possible match with cooperative learning and task based language teaching principles, wh ich according to Jacobs and Ball (1996) provide informative points into the ways such activities can be of benefit. Results of the text analysis part were the n compared with the v iews of learners actually use the investigated course books. Attempts also been made to make some suggestions to enhance the effectiveness of group work activit ies. Results of the study could make material develo pers and users more aware of the significance and structure of such activities and provide them with some in formation and suggestions to apply the necessary conditions foster real group work activities and get its advantages. 2.3. RESEARCH QUESTION Given what was mentioned above the main research question the study sought to answer was: Did group work activ i- ties meet the conditions of cooperative learning and task based teaching? 3. METHODOLOGY 3.1. SAMPLE AND PARTICIPANTS The study concerned group work activities used in ELT course books currently used in Iranian language institutes. A google search revealed the most recent and frequently used ELT courses in the country. Among them, five course books were selected randomly for th is study. It needs to be born in mind that group work act ivities here refer to the activ ities th at required students` work and interaction in groups to get a co mmon goal. The sample included some books of American English file, four corners, connect, summit, and select readings series. Some semi-structured interviews have also been conducted with learners who were studying those English language course books. Language ins titutes at which learners attended were selected based on availability; the first four course books were taught at four language institutes. For the fifth course book, however, a general English class at Razi Un iversity, Ke rmanshah, Iran had been selected. Subjects` age ranged from 15 to 24 with an average age of 19.5. Selected sample was a combination of male and female learners. They were selected based on availability and their willingness to take part in the interview. During the process of conducting interview it was revealed that learners who were attending the same class were at different levels of pro ficiency; pointing to the fact that placement tests had not been used properly and/or selected books were based on the level of majority of learners not all of them.
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3.2. INSTRUMENT AND PROCEDURE Group work act ivities of the selected sample were analy zed based on the evaluative criteria of Jacobs and Ball (1996) to see whether they encourage cooperative learning and match task based teaching principles. Based on the first criterion, they were required to lead to individual accountability and positive interdependence. For meeting the second condition, however, they needed to guarantee information gap principle and negotiation of meaning to reach a common goal. Questions of interviews were prepared in advance but they were considered only a general blue print. That is, up on ge tting informative points and useful insights they were left temporarily to be returned latter. According to Littlejohn (1992 ), for a snapshot imp ression of the quality of materials it is useful to analy ze about 10% to 15% of the total materials, ideally those are at the midpoint. Given that, for analy zing learners` views, 15% of group work activ ities of each book were pr esented to at least three learners of each course, with an average time of 30 minutes for conducting interviews of each book, and then results were compared with those obtained through text analysis.
4. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION The main question the study sought to answer was determining uniformity of group work activ ities` structure with principles of cooperative learning and task based teaching. For getting a clearer picture, the issue was approached form the two different dimensions of text analysis and interview co nduction. As a partial finding of its investigation, this study revealed that in ELT course books pair work activ ities had been preferred to group work activit ies. The average number of pair work activ ities in each book was at least two times more than that of the group work activit ies. Four corners, Select readings and Summit exp licit ly used the phrases "pair work" and "group work" while more effort was needed to decide on the pair work nature of such activities as `communication' and `speaking' activit ies of the American English file and Connect respectively. The results of rating group work activities in all selected course books are presented in table 1.
Table 1. The Total Number of Activities Total no of activities Pair work activities Group work activities
Summit A1
235
37 (15/74%)
6 (2/53%)
Connect 3
335
26 (7/8%)
13 (3/90%)
American 2
751
81 (10/78%)
1 (0/13%)
Select readings-pre 172
48 (27/9%)
7 (4/.6%)
Four corners 2
459
80 (17/42%)
32 (6/97%)
Table 1 shows that as far as text analysis is concerned, group work activ ities are marg inalized in favor of individual and pair work activit ies. Responses of learners through the process of interview also confirmed their higher need of being e ngaged in interaction and communicat ion even though with those whose level of proficiency may not be higher than themselves. When interviewing learners it was revealed that some of them were much stressed and could not convey what they
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had in their mind. It seems that it is in line with the statement of (Gower, 198 4) that Asian learners are stressed and shy and need more group interaction. Here is a stretch of interview of a learner who was attending Connects 3 course. (Hesitations referred to using dots) for example said; Hum..... this group work ..... good and we learn many thing..... each other. We work group and ...... (Breathing quickly) learn. Another learner from American English file course had the same quality and said; I like group works. I .......... ask questions my friend and learn. But .... this group work did not .....want group. Given that, it seems that having a larger proportion of group work act ivit ies in ELT course books at least can help learners control their stress of talking before other people. Ellis (1994) believes that reducing learners` while talking str ess and development of mot ivation to attend further co mmunication are among the benefits of group work act ivities. Gower (1984) also confirms that engagement in various kinds of interaction contribute to the creation of a more relaxed and coo perative learning environment. Group work activ ities had also been investigated in terms of being in accordance with the principles of task based teaching. In this way, they can be either one way (static) or two way (dynamic). Results of both text analysis and interviews are presented in table 2. Table 2. Number of Two Way Group Work Activities No of group activities Two way activities Learners view
Summit A1
6
1
3
Connect 3
13
3
4
American 2
1
1
1
Select readings-pre 7
2
2
Four corners 2
32
13
14
Table 2 denotes that the investigated group work activ ities mainly had a type one nature. That is, they involved learners individually but in most cases did not result in group interaction. One could infer that just by reporting his thoughts a nd ideas to the class for example, not only the possibility of meaning negotiation but also linguistic development would be very low (Lightbown, 1992). Nunan (1998) suggests that two way tasks have learners move their linguistic knowledge and push it to the limit. One way tasks, however, are mo re or less in opposition with that; learners produce such a minimu m display of their linguistic competence that it would be similar to a pidgin. The learners appear to be so concerned with completing the tasks that linguistic forms are treated as a means of minor importance. One way tasks also imp licitly advise learners to take a positivis m view toward knowledge. According to the stat ements of learners most of the group activ ities did not result in interaction because they did not need that. The answer was clear; that himself or herself has learned or experienced previously. Interacting with other learners, however, can lead to making knowledge through interaction and reflection on ideas and experiences. In this way, learners will be aware of the subjective nature of knowledge and acceptance of views of others not necessarily what they perceive as truth.
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Two way tasks are supposed to lead to positive interdependence which is at the heart of cooperative learn ing. Positive interdependence can prepare learners to be effective participants not only in their classroom environment today, but also in their work p lace to morro w. Positive interdependence can help learners exp lore the ways to use power of cooperation. It can also recommend a constructivism view of knowledge making. Enhancement of learners' cognitive growth (Murray, 1994; Vygotsky, 1973), mot ivation (Dorneyie & Csizer, 1998), interaction (Brown, 2000) are among other benefits of paying attention to positive interdependence. Proponents of social learn ing theory also emphasize the importance of seeing and imitating behavior and statements of other people in one's behavioral development. With regard to the number of real group work activit ies it was noticed that again a high level of uniformity existed between findings of text analysis and learners` view. Table 3 clearly shows the point. Table 3. Number of Real Group Work Activities No of group activities Real group activities Learners view
Summit A1
6
2 (33/3%)
3 (50%)
Connect3
13
7 (53/84%)
7 (53/84%)
American 2
1
1 (100%)
1 (100%)
Select readings-pre 7
2 (28/57%)
2(28/57%)
Four corners 2
32
13 (40/62%)
17 (.53/1%)
Table 3 co mpleted the results presented in table 1 that in the best case less than 7% of all activit ies of each book are de-
voted to group work and in most cases not all of this proportion meets the requirements of interaction and cooperative
learning. According to Jacobs and Ball (1996), fo r being in line with the principles of cooperative learning, activ ities shou ld
encourage both individual accountability and positive interdependence. Based on the results of text analysis, most of the
group work activ ities failed to meet the criteria mentioned by Jacobs and Ball (1996) d id not foster positive interdepe nd-
ence. They mainly involved working individually (meet ing the condition of individual accountability) and then sharing the
findings with the class. That is, they did not require students to make groups and make them feel they belong to a group
whose success and failure depend on their cooperation. Summit A1 for example includes such an activity;
Group work. Share your life-changing experience wi th your classmates. Expl ain how this experience changed your
perspective on life.
Select readings also presented the following activity as a group work one;
Group work. Which of the following volunteer opportunities would you choose to do? Why?
a) reading to a blind person
c) helping someone to read
b) cooking for a sick person
d) serving food to homeless people
Long (1990) believes that such activities fail to foster positive interdependence; they just guarantee individual learners to do their jobs (here, transforming info rmation to their classmates). Collazos et al. (2003) also argues that in such activities everyone focuses on increasing his success and sees others` efforts as irrelevant. Thus, they seem to encourage competition
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instead. According to Johnson and Johnson (1987) negative interdependence happens when learners try to increase their own success and prevent other learners fro m being more successful than themselves. Most learners also believed that while performing those activities they did not feel that they belong to a group and their amount of learn ing was less than when they did a real group work act ivity. Few of the learners, however, said that even in such activities they felt that they belo ng to a group whose members were all students of the class. For examp le learner 3 who attended the Select readings course s aid ; I think such acti vities encourage considering all students of the class members of a social group. We all shoul d work to get the ideal results such activities seek to reach. Given this interpretation one may think that such activities follow the social group theory (Burke & Sets 1998); they encourage seeing the whole class as a social group who engage in the mutual endeavor of successful conduction of group work and getting its results. Different v iews of most of other learners in this regard may have two main reasons. It partly emerge fro m their unawareness of this interpretation could be solved if these books explicit ly mention their defin ition and ideology of group work and interaction. The b igger headache in this regard is t hat, even if they follow social theory principles, structure of such activities by no means guarantees personal feeling of responsibility towards success or failure of th e group. They neither prescribe different roles for learners, nor put them in situatio ns that need coordination and working together to reap a desired result. In such situation one can hardly expect increase of linguistic knowledge, let alone, feeling responsibility toward co mmunity, actively engaging in social affairs and taking different ro les in society. According to Collazoz et al. (2003) being a member of a group is not sufficient even to get better and higher learn ing achievement. It is only positive interdependence among all members that encourages having a concern to get the best pos sible results. It also leads to promotional interactions as group members facilitate each other's efforts to get some desired goals. Then, even this different interpretation could not be the ideology of group work they serve. According to the findings, both text analysis and interv iew denote that group work activit ies could engage learners individually, but they don't result in positive interdependence. Learners when doing them don't think that they all survive or sink. Given that, they will not supposed to foster cooperative learning, which encourages learners to p rogress externally through working with pairs and sharing responsibility in doing a task. Medgyes (1986) believes that as a result of ignoring positive interdependence learners may think that knowledge only come fro m their teachers. They don't appreciate peer views and erro r correction. Group activ ities also cannot lead to meaning negotiation and interaction. So, learners' linguistic and pragmatic competence may not evolve over time. Given the apparent failure of the investigated ELT course books to account for positive interdependence and creating a dynamic learn ing environ ment the logica l e xpectation would be suggesting some ways to meet these conditions. As a result of some overlap between the conditions and benefits of these two terms in what fo llo ws positive interdependence is mainly targeted, which can guarantee dynamic interaction too (the reverse, however, may not necessarily be correct because int eraction can result in negative interdependence too). As far as pro moting positive interdependence is concerned different views have been reported. Dillenbourg (1999) believes that group work activities should be developed in a way that have learners achieve mutual goals such as finding solutions for problems and get mutual rewards in a way that every group member be assigned a point which should be counted towards a criterion referenced final assessment. Cuseo (2000) states that redirecting students` questions to their teams, having groups help each other and letting students use the group language (such as we and our instead of I and mine) in the classroom pro mote positive interdependence, which is a corner stone of cooperative learning. Johnson et al. (1986) suggest that tasks presented to the groups should be clear, measurable and structure positive interdependence to get a goal. They have identified different kinds of positive interdependence some of wh ich are presented here. Positive goal interdependence, denotes achieving a goal if and only if members cooperate, can be enhanced when teacher have groups learn the assigned materials and then ensure that. Positive celebration/rewards interdependence can happen as a result of positive goal interdependence. Positive resource interdependence can b e pro moted when everyone has a piece of informat ion and/or material and the task can be completed when they have to be combined.
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In positive role interdependence everyone has a specific role and responsibility. Roles are interconnected and task completion depends on their cooperation. Positive identity interdependence happens when each group selects and agrees on an identity such as a name, slogan or song. Jacobs and Wall (2013) believe that fantasy interdependence exists when learners imagine that their group is made of different people, in a d ifferent time and place and has to do something that is beyond their age (like producing furniture for future generations). Outside enemy interdependence involves Working Groups together to overcome adversaries (such as attempting to construct a tower that could stand the force of earthquake). Positive environmental interdependence, however, simp ly implies learners stay close to each other so that they can easily hear each other and share their resources. 5. CONCLUSION The study tried to provide a pretty detailed account of the significance and effect iveness of group work activ ities of ELT course books in developing learners` personality and getting higher learning achievements. Overall investigation of the number of pair and group work activ ities confirmed Haghverdi (2012) and Alemi, Jahangard , and Hesami`s (2014) claim that ELT course books prefer pair to group work activities. With respect to the views of language learners and results obtained through text analysis it seems quite a change for the present ELT course books to account for the principles of cooperative learning and task based teaching. They seem to follow the traditional belief of regarding teacher as the main source of knowledge and discourage group learning the minimu m risk of wh ich could be forgetting about the linguistic and co mmun icative develop ment of learners. Given that, prob ably the best and the most ideal thing to do is reviewing the learning and knowledge philosophy they adhere. Giving mor e priority to the potential ro le of group learning and working and taking a more constructivism v iew o f knowledge making process will pro mote the value of these books and make learners more independent through having them engaged in ma naging their own learning. In addition to the just mentioned solution, some suggestions have also been made to promote positive interdependence and get a more dynamic learning environ ment. Based on the solutions proposed, it seems that both teachers and those involved in developing instructional materials should be engaged in the p rocess of humanizing (To mlinson, 1996 ) course books. The idea denotes that material users be respected and helped to use their capacity for learning through using me aningful e xerc ises. Materia l developers are advised to have learning, personal and professional needs of learners as the ma in material users in their minds while deciding on the appropriateness of materials and activities (Tomlinson, 2011) Teachers also play a crucial role in this regard. They may modify structure of activit ies (here group work act ivities) or even ignore them and use those they think meet the needs of learners in the best possible way. Littlejohn (1992) argues that teachers should be involved in analy zing materials in act ion, as what happens in the classroom and what is ach ieved as the final outcome of them depends directly on learners and teachers` interpretation of materials and tasks. Tasks are o ften d escribed as tasks as work plans (Breen, 1989; Candlin, 1987), meaning that they are prescribed and offered to teachers and learners as frames for learning and teaching. Views of tasks in process and tas ks as outcomes instead should be encouraged, to make teachers and learners control and bring their personal contribution, a nd focus on the learning may derive fro m the m respectively. This study suffered fro m t wo main limitations. First, teachers` view, which p lays a curial role in interpretation of activ ities (Nunan, 1991) could not be accounted for. Second, all the ELT cours e books, although selected randomly, targeted almost the same levels of proficiency. Strata method of sampling with regard to the levels of proficiency ELT course books serve may result in d ifferent findings. Further research in addit ion to focusing on the mentioned limitations can explo re sex and proficiency differences in performing group work activ ities and co mpare different types of group wo rk activ ities (such as online and printed ones). Investigating the discourses of one and two type tasks and their contribution to language de-
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velopment may also results in informative points for ELT course book developers and teachers.
REFERENCES [1] Ahour, T., Towh idiyan, B., & Saeid i, M (2014). The evaluation of "English Textbook 2" taught in Iranian high schools from teachers' perspectives. English Language Teaching, 7 (3), 150-158. [2] Alemi, M., Jahangard, A., & Hesami, Z. (2013). A co mparison of two global ELT course books in terms of their task types, IARTEM e-journal, 5(2), 42-63. [3] Art igal, J. (1992). So me considerations on why a new language is acquired by being used. International Journal of applied linguistics, 2,221-240. [4] Breen, M. (1989). Learner contribution to task design. Englewood cliffs, NJ; Prentice Hall. [5] Bro wn, R. (1991). Group work, task difference, and second language acquisition, Journal of Applied Linguistics, 12 (1), 1-12. [6] Brown, H.D. (2000). Principles of language learning and teaching. New York: Addison, Wesley, Longman, Inc. [7] Brown, H.D. (2001) Teaching by principles: An interactive approach to language pedagogy. New York: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc. [8] Burke, P., & Sets, J. (2009). Identity and social identity theory. Oxford: OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS. [9] Candlin, C. N. (1987). Towards task based language learning. English language education, 7, 5-22. [10] Cuseo, J. (2000). Collaborative and cooperative learning; pedagogy for promoting new student relation and achiev ement. Preconference workshop on the first year experience, Columbia: Sc. [11] Collazos, C., Guerrero, L, Pino, J., & Ochoa, S. (2003). Collaborative scenarios to promote positive interdependence among group members. Springer, 26,356-370. [12] Dewey, J. (1966). Democracy and education. New York: Free Press. [13] Dillenbourg, P. (1999). What do you mean by collab orative learn ing? In P. Dillenbourg (Ed), collaborative learning: Cognitive and conceptual approaches. Oxford: Elsevier. [14] Dishon, D., & O Leary, P. W. (1993). A guidebook for cooperative learning: a technique for creating more effective schools. Holms Beach, FL; learning Publications. [15] Ellis, R. (1994). The study of second language acquisition. Oxford; Oxford University Press. [16] Ellis, R. (2008). Second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [17] Flowerdew, L (1998). A cultural perspective on group work. ELT Journal, 52 (4), 323-329. [18] Jacobs, G. M., & Ball, G. (1996). An investigation of the structure of group activ ities in ELT course books. ELT Journal, 50 (2), 99-107. [19] Johnson, D., & Johnson, R. (1987). Learning together and alone. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall. [20] Ghorbani, M. R. (2011). Quantificat ion and graphic representation of EFL textbook evaluation results. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 1(5), 511-520. [21] Haghverdi, H. R. (2012). An evaluation of American English File Series. IJRELT, 1 (2), 83-97. [22] Ke lishadi, A. A., &Sharifzadeh, A. (2013). An investigation of top notch series. International Journal of Language and Applied Linguistics, 4 (4), 60-73. [23] Ilola, L. M., Power, K. M ., & Jacobs, G.M. (1989). Structuring students' interaction to promote learning. English Teaching Forum, 27, 12-16. [24] Littlejohn, A. (1998). The analysis of language teaching materials: Inside the Trojan horse. In Tomlinson, B. (Ed.), Materials development in Language teaching (pp. 190-216). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [25] Long, M. H. (1989). Task, group, and task-group interactions. In S. Anivan (Ed.), Language teaching methodology for
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the nineties. Singapore: SEAMEO Regional Language Centre. [26] Long, M. H. (1990). Maturational constrains on Language Development. Studies in second language acquisition, 12, 251-286. [27] Medgyes, P. (1986). Queries from a communicative teacher. ELT journal, 40, 107-112. [28] Murray, F. B. (1994). Why understanding the theoretical basics of cooperative learning enhances teaching success. Baltimore: P. H. Brooks` Pub Co. [29] Nahrkhalaji, S. S. (2012). An Evaluation of a global ELT textbook in Iran: A two-phase approach. International Journal of Humanities and social science, 2, (3), 184- 191. [30] Nunan, D. (1991). Language teaching methodology: A textbook for teachers. Hemel Hampstead: Prentice Hall. [31] Nunan. D. (1993). Syllabus design. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [32] Nunan, D. (1998). Designing tasks for the communicative classroom. UK: Cambridge University Press. [33] Nunan, D. (2004). Task based language teaching. UK: Cambridge University Press. [34] Piaget, J. (1926). The language and thought of the child. NY: Harcourt Brace. [35] Rahimpour, M. (2008). Implementation of task based approaches to language teaching. Pazhuhesh-e Zabanhaye k hreji, 4, 45--61. [36] Rea-Dickins, P., & Germaine, K. (1992). Evaluation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [37] Ribe, R., & Vidal, N. (1993). Project work step by step. Oxford: Heinemann. [38] Richards, J. C. (1985). Easier said than done: In the context of language teaching. Camb ridge: Camb ridge univers ity p res s . [39] Richards, J. C., & Renandaya, W. A. (2002). Methodology in language teaching: an anthology of current practice . UK: Cambridge University Press. [40] Shehadeh, A. (2004). Modified output during task-based pair interaction and group interaction. Journal of Applied Linguistics, 3, 351­382. [41] Sharan, Y., & Sharan, S. (1992). Expanding cooperative learning through group investigation. Co lchester, VT: Teachers and College Press. [42] Skehan, P. (1998). A cognitive approach to language learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [43] Slavin, R. E. (1990). Cooperative learning: Theory, research, and practice. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. [44] Tabatabai, O., & Tabrizi, H. H. (2010). The textbook of translation of simple texts used in Iranian English B.A. translation program. An evaluation study. Faslnameh Elmipazhoheshi, Pazhouhesh Darbarnamehrizi Darsi, Islamic Azad University, Khoreskan Branch,1(26), 101-122. [45] Tomlinson, B. (2003). Developing materials for language teaching. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. [46] Tomlinson, B. (2010). Principles of effective materials development. In N. Harwood (Ed.), English language teaching materials: Theory and practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [47] Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher mental processes. Cambridge: Harvard University Pres s .
Authors' Bio Saman Ebadi holds Ph.D. degree in applied linguistics fro m A llameh Tabatabai Un iversity, Iran. He got his M.A. and B.A. degrees from the same university. He has been teaching at university of Razi, Kermanshah, Iran for about three years. His areas of interest are testing and assessment, qualitative research, syllabus design and material development, and discourse an aly s is . Shokoofeh Vakili Lati f is a Ph.D. candidate in TEFL at Razi University and has been teaching at th is university for about
ELT Voices-Volume (5), Issue (2), (2015)
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one year. Her areas of interest are syllabus design and materials development, qualitative research and discourse analysis. Elham Bahramzadeh holds M.A. degree in TEFL from Razi University, Iran. Discourse analysis, qualitative and quantit ative research are among her areas of interest.

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