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Abstract

This action research project explored whether employing cooperative learning activities would improve participants’ perceptions of working in small groups. The action research model used in this study is based on a sequence of planning, implementation, observation, and reflection (Dana & Yendol-Silva, 2003; Hopkins, 2002; McLean, 1995). Action research is conducted by educators in their own classrooms and can lead to changes in curriculum, activities, or teaching methods. This style of research allows educators to reflect upon their teaching in a structured way, supported by valid research methods. Cooperative learning techniques (Johnson and Johnson, 1998) were applied in two interpreter education courses in order to facilitate student learning. A pre- and post-course survey of student attitudes toward working in small groups was used to measure student perceptions of working in small groups. Participants in both courses showed a shift to more positive perceptions of working in small groups with a stronger positive response in the non-graded summer intensive course with working interpreters.

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