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Preliminary factors necessary for effective implementation of cooperative learning, and their prevalence in cooperative learning practice in Saudi Arabia

Albuhairi, Saeed Saleh A.


Saeed Saleh A. Albuhairi


Mike Bottery

Wendy Jolliffe

Nigel Wright


For a number of years, educationalists in Saudi Arabia have criticized the education system, blaming outdated teaching methods for unsatisfactory pupil outcomes. Government rhetoric on education reform advocates a move to new approaches, particularly cooperative learning (CL), yet implementation is reportedly still low. Previous research by the current author, and personal experience suggest that a potential reason for this lack of implementation is that students and teachers are not ready in a variety of ways to engage with cooperative learning. This study, therefore, explores the necessary preliminary factors for effective implementation of cooperative learning, their prevalence in Saudi Arabia, and the challenges and facilitating factors influencing their development.

A mixed method, two-phase research design was adopted. In Phase One (quantitative), all boys’ primary school Arabic language teachers (n=79) in Alaurthiah Ashamaliah region were surveyed regarding their understanding and practice of CL. In Phase Two (qualitative), pre-lesson, post-lesson and general interviews were conducted with seven CL-implementing teachers, one lesson by each of the seven observed using an observation checklist, and a video-recording of each observed lesson discussed with the teacher concerned.

The findings revealed generally low understanding and prevalence of CL overall, and of the preliminary factors identified from CL literature (positive interdependence, individual and group accountability, promotive interaction, interpersonal and small group skills, and group processing). A complex interplay of macro- and micro-level factors were found to constrain CL, including the centralized, hierarchical education system, an overloaded curriculum, limited regional infrastructure, lack of resources and educational aids and, above all, insufficient quantity and inadequate quality of teacher training for CL. Nevertheless, the cooperative values of Islam, collectivist social traditions and government interest in education reform are potentially facilitative. Recommendations are offered for the Ministry of Education, training providers and teachers, for ways to promote, develop and enhance CL practice in Saudi schools.


Albuhairi, S. S. A. (2015). Preliminary factors necessary for effective implementation of cooperative learning, and their prevalence in cooperative learning practice in Saudi Arabia. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Dec 22, 2015
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Education
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Education Studies, The University of Hull
Award Date Mar 1, 2015


Thesis (1.6 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2015 Albuhairi, Saeed Saleh A. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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