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ERIC Number: EJ1092831
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Feb
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1072-4303
What Do We Want Small Group Activities For? Voices from EFL Teachers in Japan
Kato, Yoshitaka
TESL-EJ, v19 n4 Feb 2016
This paper discusses the fundamental issue of why small group activities are utilized in the language learning classroom. Although these activities have gained popularity in the field of Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), supported by a sound theoretical base, few studies have so far examined the reasons why language teachers are actually utilizing these methods in their classrooms. This study attempted to elucidate teachers' reasons, with the premise that their motivations can be categorized along the lines of the two central approaches to small group learning: cooperative learning (COL) and collaborative learning (CLL). Specifically, the researcher in this case study conducted semi-structured interviews with four EFL teachers in Japan. The interviews were transcribed and then examined via SCAT analysis (Otani, 2008). Findings suggest that language teachers adopt small group activities based on their sense of plausibility (Prabhu, 1990) as to how second languages should be learned, and this sense of plausibility can be categorized as either COL-oriented or CLL-oriented. Although the results of the current study cannot be easily generalized, they do suggest that the COL/CLL framework can lead to better understanding of language teachers' beliefs about small group activities.
TESL-EJ. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Japan
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A