AER International Conference 2012 Gloria Cha-Gardiner Ed.D IMPLEMENTING COOPERATIVE LEARNING FOR YOUNG ADOLESCENTS WITH VISUAL IMPAIRMENTS TO IMPROVE SOCIAL SKILLS ORGANIZATIONS 1. Introduction 2. Literature Review 3. Methodology 4. Results 5. Discussion INTRODUCTION Nature of the problems Statement of the purpose Background and significance of the problem Purpose of the study NATURE OF THE PROBLEM Social skills involve the competencies that students demonstrate in getting along with their peers, the ways that they exercise their self-control and self-management in the school setting and their ability to advocate on their own behalf. Developed social skills through various experiences: imitation of role models, coaching, modeling provided by significant of others (Gresham et al, 2001) Positive social skills will lead to successful experience in careers. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM Students in a residential school for the Blind and visually impaired were demonstrating significant delays in acquiring age-appropriate social competencies. Sighted students are able to develop social competencies naturally through observation, imitation, and experiential learning. The absence of vision presents difficulties for students with visual impairments because they cannot acquire information from their social environment. BACKGROUND AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PROBLEM During middle and high school years, students experience physical, cognitive and emotional changes that may affect the development of social skills. The absence of vision creates problems in meeting the needs of social development although adolescents with visual impairments are embarking on the same quest for independence and identity(Wolffe, 2006). THE SOCIAL NETWORK PILOT PROJECT STUDY (SACKS, WOLFFE, AND TIEMEY, 1998) Only 25% of the students with visual impairments and their parents indicated that they participated social activities with their friends after school. The students with low vision were involved in fewer activities and were least likely to be in social situation. The students with visual impairments have fewer friends than their sighted peers. THE SOCIAL NETWORK PILOT PROJECT STUDY (SACKS, WOLFFE, AND TIEMEY, 1998) The students with visual impairments were involved more frequently in passive and sedentary activities. The students with visual impairments established greater closeness when they interacted with friends with visual impairments. PURPOSE OF THE STUDY : RESEARCH QUESTIONS Based on SSRs results, did cooperative learning strategies instituted in the after school program lead to positive changes in student social skills, as perceived by teachers, in the area of cooperation, assertiveness, and self-control? 2. Based on SSRs results, did cooperative learning strategies instituted in the after school program lead to positive changes in student social skills, as perceived by students, in the area of cooperation, assertiveness, and self-control? 1. LITERATURE REVIEW Development of social skills in Adolescents Barriers in social skills for students with visual impairments Self-esteem issues for adolescents with visual impairments Cooperative learning strategy Elements of cooperative learning strategies Techniques for facilitating cooperative learning strategies. Cooperative learning strategies and students with disabilities DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIAL SKILLS IN ADOLESCENTS Physical development Social Development Psychological development Cognitive development Social competence PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT Physical appearance: height, weight, walking, sitting, standing, posture Movements and mannerism often identify adolescents as belonging to a specific peer group or club. Adolescents with visual impairments do not have the ability to observe mannerism and movements of others, which can affect pee group interactions. SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT Developing peer relationships and participating in various social activities help adolescents to acquire social skills. The students with visual impairments lack social opportunities (Kef, 1999; Roseblum, 1998). Although they may participate on some group activities in comparison to sighted peers, they are always limited unless the activities are modified. PSYCHOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT Adolescents typically develop trustworthy and nurturing friendships that bring emotional comfort build positive self-esteem and selfconfidence. Lack of visual skills creates limited opportunities for social interactions, which affect positive self-esteem and self-confidence. COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT Individuals begin to think more abstractly and creatively during adolescents (Wolffe, 2000). The adolescents with visual impairments may have particular difficulty in understanding certain abstract concepts (Wolffe, 2000). SOCIAL COMPETENCE Ability to demonstrate a repertoire of behaviors and actions that meet the norms and culture of the society. A high level of social competence strongly and positively affect educational performance, psychological development, independent functioning, and community participation (Brener & Smith, 2004; Tuttle & Tuttle, 2004). Many visually impaired students demonstrates deficits in social competence (Sacks & Silberman, 2000) BARRIERS IN SOCIAL SKILLS FOR STUDENTS WITH VISUAL IMPAIRMENTS Lack of visual cues. Lack of peer relationships Lack of social opportunities LACK OF VISUAL CUES Do not observe physical changes in themselves or others: Cannot observe nonverbal communication. Inability to observe visual images and to interpret nonverbal communication is a critical issue that negatively impact their social integration (Jindal-Snape, 2004, 2005; Kim, 2003;Sacks, 2006; Sacks & Silberman, 2000). LACK OF PEER RELATIONSHIP Visually impaired students have few close friends and have difficulty making friends. They (Visually impaired students) often suffered from lower self-esteem, which affected their ability to establish positive relationships with others. (Rosenblum, 1998). Visually impaired students experienced in forming and maintaining friendship. (Hurre, 2000). LACK OF SOCIAL OPPORTUNITIES Inability to access visual cues. Inability to drive The adolescents with visual impairments preferred to interact with other visually impaired peers because they felt a great sense of closeness with them than they did with sighted peers (Sacks, et al, 1998(. Many visually impaired adolescents would like to have more social opportunity for social engagement with sighted peers, but their visual disability limits both their social interactions and social opportunities (Kef, 1999 COOPERATIVE LEARNING: DEFINITION The cooperative learning strategy places students within small groups and encourages individuals to work together in solving common problem, completing tasks, and learning specific content (Siegel, 2005). “Small group instruction and practices that uses positive interaction to achieve instructional goals” (Dyson and Grineski, 2001). ELEMENTS OF COOPERATIVE LEARNING Positive interdependence: group members share a common goal and that each member must demonstrate successful network and cooperation although group members have different learning style. Individual accountability: Individual contribution to the group. ELEMENTS OF COOPERATIVE LEARNING Face to face interaction: Individual accountability promotes face to face interaction (Jacob et all, 2002). Interpersonal skills: Students within a cooperative group listen to each other, share discussion-making processes, encourage each other and give/receive feedback. ELEMENTS OF COOPERATIVE LEARNING Group processing: It is a time allocated to discussion of how group members achieved their goals and maintained successful working relationship with each other. TECHNIQUES FOR FACILITATING COOPERATIVE LEARNING Jigsaw: each student is responsible for learning and performing a portion of the content and teaching it to other group members. Think-pair share: encompasses three stages. 1. The students think silently about a question posed by a teacher. 2. the students are paired and asked to exchange their thoughts about a question. 3. The students share responses with the whole class. TECHNIQUES FOR FACILITATING COOPERATIVE LEARNING Circle of writers: each student in a group have a piece of paper and all members write simultaneously on a given topic. After completing the writing, the students share their ideas with the class. Focused discussion pair: students are paired, and teachers pose a question to each other. Students then respond to the question and compare answers to see if they can improve their responses as a pair. Students must be responsible for developing new answers and for sharing them later with the group. TECHNIQUES FOR FACILITATING COOPERATIVE LEARNING Numbered heads together: Students are placed in groups of four, and each number is given a number from 1-4. the teaher3 pose a question or assigns a task to the students. Groups work together to respond to the question or task. The teacher calls a number and the students in each group with that number responds to the question or share the work completed within the group. TECHNIQUES FOR FACILITATING COOPERATIVE LEARNING Talking chips: The teacher provides each student three chips. Students are seated in a circle. When called upon, the student is asked question about the content studied. After responding, the student places the chip in the middle of the group. After a student uses all three chips, he or she is not allowed to speak again until everyone has used all the chips. COOPERATIVE LEARNING STRATEGIES AND STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES Offer advantages for students with intellectual, ;earning, behavioral, physical, vision and hearing impairments (Ashman, 2003). Because students with disabilities demonstrate different levels of academic and social skills, cooperative learning provide both academic and social support in the classroom. COOPERATIVE LEARNING STRATEGIES AND STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES Gillies and Ashman (2003): studied behaviors, interactions and learning outcomes of students who participated cooperative learning groups. Kuntz, McLaughlin, and Howard (2001): compared the use of cooperative leaning strategies, small group instructions, and individualized instruction approached to the traditional teaching of math in a self-contained special education classroom COOPERATIVE LEARNING STRATEGIES AND STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES Avcioghu (2007): studied whether cooperative learning strategies were so effective intervention to address social skills deficits in students with hearing impairments. METHODOLOGY Participants Instruments Procedures Data collection and analysis PARTICIPANTS 18 out 50 7th through 10th grade middle and high school students with visual impairments. They were recruited to participated in the study for 8 weeks. They were selected as possible participants in the study by their teachers and administrators based on classroom discipline and academic records. Able to read and comprehend reading materials at the fourth grade level and demonstrate ageexpected written communication skills with the help of assistive technology. INSTRUMENTS The SSRS (Social Skills Rating System) was administered to a group of 18 randomly selected students as a pretest and posttest measure to determine social skills competencies. Three core and elective teachers who worked with each of the participating students also completed the SSRS survey prior to and following the implementation. INSTRUMENTS A weekly record of observation was developed by the researcher to document the frequency of specific behaviors that was observed during the intervention period. The researcher also developed a behavior checklist to measure the progress of the participants during the cooperative group activities over 8 week period of implementation. PROCEDURES The researcher used experimental and control group design. The experimental group consisted of nine of 18 randomly selected 7th through 10th grade students, and they participated in a cooperative learning groups for 8 weeks. To select students for each group, the researcher entered the numbers from 1 through 18 on individual cards, and put the numbers in a hat PROCEDURES The researcher hosted an introductory meeting for all participants and asked the students to pick a card from a hat. The following week, students in both experimental and control group completed the SSRS behavior rating scale. Responses to the scale with regard to the targeted social skills (cooperation, assertiveness, and self-control) PROCEDURES The researcher conducted a second meeting: During the meeting, the participants discussed about what constitutes working cooperatively in a group to complete class assignments successfully. Experimental group: they would be meeting for 1 hour twice weeks over a period of 8 weeks during and after school program. They were assigned to different cooperative group weekly. PROCEDURES Each group consists of three students. All groups read information about career education and then completed written activities that included vocabulary definition, answering comprehension questions, and writing a cooperative summary of the reading. The researcher developed four concepts units in career education, which served as the academic content to be learned through cooperative learning groups. PROCEDURES A new unit was introduced every 2 weeks, and each unit had four corresponding lessons on a given topic. Each lesson included three nonfiction texts that could be obtained from internet sources. All texts were related to different areas of career education that were of interest to students at this level. Students responded questions and activities within their group: defining vocabulary words, retelling detail, answering inferential questions, and writing a summary after reading PROCEDURES After students completed their assignments, they were reassigned to a sharing team. Three sharing teams were created and provided students the opportunity to share their summaries and information with other teams. The researcher later assed the summaries and grades were assigned to the entire group following the state’s standards-based assessment rubric by writing. PROCEDURES During the cooperative learning intervention, observations were made twice a month by the researcher to determine whether individual students were exhibiting following target behaviors within the group: demonstration of cooperation within the group, assertiveness defined as initiating conversation with other group members, and demonstration of self-control when there was a disagreement among members of the group. Four observations were made: Middle of first month, end of first month, middle of second month, and end of second month. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: RESEARCH QUESTION 1 Compared data from teacher responses on the SSRS before and after completion of the intervention. Also, Assessment of student social behaviors during the cooperative learning activities was created as a checklist. The researcher assessed each behavior as no progress, making progress or mastered. The responses for each behavior checklist were counted for each student and a table was created to indicate the number of positive responses for each student. Percentages were tabulated to determine progress and differences for all students throughout the implementation on each behavior assessed. Comparison chart was developed. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: RESEARCH QUESTION 2 The researcher compared students’ self-reports on the SSRS before and after the implementation. A distribution table was developed, and the mean score and standard deviations were developed. RESULTS: FINDINGS FOR RESEARCH QUESTION 1 Seven out of nine students (77.78%) in the experimental group demonstrated an improvement in their social skills from preintervention to post-intervention. The scores for the students in the control group decreased before/after the intervention. Observation: three desired social behaviors were assessed RESULTS: FINDINGS FOR RESEARCH QUESTION 1 Behavior 1: Seven out of nine students demonstrated this behavior one time during the middle of first observational month. All nine students demonstrated this behavior at least one time by first observational month, two or three times during the middle of second month and 7 out of 9 students showed this behavior 2-3 times at the end of the second month. RESULTS: FINDINGS FOR RESEARCH QUESTION 1 Behavior 2: 8 out of 9 students demonstrated this behavior at least one time during the middle of the first observational month. All 9 students demonstrated this behavior at least one time at the end of first observational month, and 8 out of 9 students demonstrated this behavior either two or three times during the middle of the second observational month, and all students demonstrated this behavior two or three times at the end of second observational month. RESULTS: FINDINGS FOR RESEARCH QUESTION 1 Behavior 3: 7 out of 9 students demonstrated this behavior during the middle of the first observational month. 8 out of 9 students demonstrated this behavior one time at the end of first observational months. 4 out of 9 students demonstrated this behavior four times at the end of second observational month. The behavior data suggests that the cooperative learning strategies instituted in the classroom resulted in positive changes on all three behaviors. RESULT FINDINGS: RESEARCH QUESTION 2 Eight of nine students in the experimental group demonstrated improvement in their ability to exhibit the desired social skills before and after the intervention. DISCUSSION Based on the research question 1, the students in the experimental group appeared to have benefited from their participation in the cooperative learning strategy. Based on the research question 2, the students who participated in the cooperative learning strategy demonstrated more positive behaviors because they were able to interact more successfully. DISCUSSION: INFORMAL INTERVIEW WITH THE STUDENTS IN THE EXPERIMENTAL GROUP 1. How do you like to work with different students with different interests? It was very difficult at the beginning, but it was easier at the end of the study. 2. Why did you or did you not like to work with different students with different interests? Everyone has different ideas and thought, but they had to work together to meet the common goals. 3. Would you like to participate again in the future? The students recommended that the cooperative learning activities be offered as an after school program options in the future. DISCUSSION: IMPLICATION OF FINDINGS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. The students had opportunity to work with other students whom they did not usually interact. They learned how to divide a task into parts, and each student was responsible for the part. They learned the importance of working together cooperatively to complete an assignment successfully. They learned some problem solving strategies when facing with academic challenges. The found in value and pleasure in helping each other to be successful.. DISCUSSION: IMPLICATION OF FINDINGS They were able to maintain their involvement on a task, which resulted in more constructive use of time. 7. They had experience of receiving feedback from their peers in addition to the usual feedback from their teachers. 6. DISCUSSION: LIMITATIONS Small sample size of population The researcher-created instrument that had not yet been validated. DISCUSSION: RECOMMENDATION OF FUTURE RESEARCH How cooperative learning strategies can improve social skills of students with visual impairments in the elementary level. REFERENCE Avcioglu, H. (2007). Examining the effectiveness of a program developed for teaching social skills to hearing-impaired students based on cooperative learning. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 7(1), 340-347. Retrieved from ERIC database. (EJ796204) Bremer, C. D., & Smith, J. (2004). Teaching social skills. Retrieved from http://www .ncset.org/publications/viewdesc.asp?id=1749 Dyson, B., & Grineski (2001). Using cooperative learning structures in physical education. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 72, 28-31. Retrieved from ERIC database. (EJ622342) Gresham, F. M., Sugai, G., & Horner, R. H. (2001). Interpreting outcomes of social skills training for students with high-incidence disabilities. Exceptional Children, 67(3), 331-344. Retrieved from ERIC database. (EJ623175) REFERENCE Hurre, T. A. (2000). Psychosocial development and social support and self-esteem for adolescents with visual impairments. Helsinki, Finland: Tempera University of Public Health. Jacobs, G. M., Power, M. A., & Loe, W. I. (2002). The teacher’s sourcebook for cooperative learning: Practical techniques, best principles, and frequently asked questions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press. Kef, S. (1999). Outlook on relations: Personal network and psychosocial characteristics of visually impaired adolescents. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Thelathesis. Sacks, S. Z., & Silberman, R. K. (2000). Social skills. 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Holbrook (Eds.), Foundations of education (2nd ed., pp. 135-160). New York, NY: AFB Press. Wolffe, K. E. (2006). Theoretical perspectives on the development of social skills in adolescents. In S. Z. Sacks & K. E. Wolffe (Eds.), Teaching social skills to students with visual impairments (pp. 332-364). New York, NY: AFB Press.