The Effect of Cooperative Learning on Reducing Anxiety and Improving Reading Comprehension of EFL Learners

Hossein Siahpoosh, Zahra Ghobadi Asl, Javad Khodadoust


This study investigated the effect of cooperative learning on reducing anxiety and improving reading comprehension ability of the Iranian intermediate male and female EFL learners. Also, this study checked possible interaction between grouping (cooperative learning vs. individualistic learning) and gender on anxiety and reading comprehension. The research data were collected with the use of quantitative methods, including two instruments: The Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale [FLCAS] and the reading comprehension pre-test and post-test. A total of 80 intermediate level students participated in this study. The findings revealed that cooperative learning had no effect on reducing foreign language learning anxiety, but improved reading comprehension ability of the learners. The effect of gender, as moderator variable, was also examined, and the interaction between grouping and gender on anxiety and reading comprehension was studied too, but no statistically significant effect was found.


Anxiety, Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale (FLCAS), Cooperative Learning (CL), Reading Comprehension, EFL Learners

Full Text:



Abd-Al, T., & Al-Odwan, H. (2012). The effect of the directed reading thinking activity through cooperative learning on English secondary stage students' reading comprehension in Jordan. Humanities and Social Science International Journal, 2(16), 138-151

Alhaidari, M. S. (2006). The effectiveness of using cooperative learning to promote reading comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency achievement scores of male fourth, and fifth-grade students in a Saudi Arabian school. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. Pennsylvania State University

Atef-Vahid, S., & Fard Kashani, A. (2011). The effect of English learning anxiety on Iranian high-school student's English language achievement: Brain Broad Research in Artificial Intelligence and Neuroscience. Teaching Language Skills Journal, 2(3), 29-44. Retrieved from

Chastain, K. (1988). Developing second language skills: Theory and Practice, (3rd ed.). San-Diago, CA: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Chen, S.F. (2005). Cooperative learning, multiple intelligences and proficiency: Application and learning. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. Australian Catholic University.

Duxbury, J.G., & Tsai, L.L. (2010). The effect of cooperative learning on foreign language anxiety: A comparative study of Taiwanese and American universities. International Instruction Journal, 3 (1), 3-18. Retrieved from

Elkhafifi, H. (2005). Listening comprehension and anxiety in the Arabic language classroom. Modern Language Journal, 89(2), 206-220.

Er, M., Altuny, U., & Yurdbakan,I. (2012). The effect of active learning on foreign language self-concept and reading comprehension achievement. New Trends in Education and Their Implication International Journal, 3(4), 43-58.

Faramarzi, H. (2003). The role of collaborative strategies reading in the improvement of reading comprehension ability of Iranian ESL learners. Unpublished M.A. Dissertation. Tarbiyat Modarres University, Tehran,Iran

Horwitz, E.K., Horwitz, M.B., & Cope, J. (1986). Foreign language classroom anxiety. Modern Language Journal, 70(2), 1-5. 0026-7902/86/0002/125

Horwitz, E.K. (2001). Language anxiety and achievement: Applied Linguistics Annual Review, 21 (1), 112-126. Retrieved from

Johnson, D.W., & Johnson, R.T. (2010). Restorative Conflict in school: Necessary roles of cooperative learning and constructive conflict. ESRC Seminar, (pp. 1-40). Restorative conflict in schools.

Kazemi, M. (2012). The effect of jigsaw technique on the learners' Reading achievement. The case study of English as second language. MJAL, 4(3).

MacIntyer, P.D., & Gardner, R.C. (1994). The subtle effect of language anxiety on cognitive processing in the second language. Language Learning, 44(2), 283-306

Marashi,H. & Baygzadeh, L. (2019). Using cooperative learning to enhance EFL learners’ overall achievement. Downloaded from

Marashi, H. & Sanatipoor, S. (2015). Comparing competitive and cooperative content-based instruction in reading and writing classes. Journal of Studies in Learning and Teaching English, 4, (2), 001-020

Marashi,H. & Tabatabayi, Z.(2019). Student teams achievement divisions and think-pair -share: which works better for listening? International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching & Research, 7(26)

Marzban,A. & Alinejad, F.(2014). The effect of cooperative learning on reading Comprehension of Iranian EFL learners. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 116, 3744 – 3748

Mehdizadeh,S. &Nojabaee,S.S. & Asgari,M.H.(2013). The effect of cooperative learning on math anxiety, help seeking behavior. Journal of Basic and Applied Scientific Research, ISSN 2090-4304

Meneghetti, C., Carretti, B., & De Beni, R. (2006). Components of reading comprehension and scholastic achievemen Sience Directed 16, 291-301. Retrieved from International Education Study, 5(2).

Nagahashi, T.L. (2007). Techniques for reducing foreign language anxiety: Results of a successfulinterventionstudy.Retrievedfrom:

Oludipe, D., & Awokay, J. O. (2010). Effect of cooperative learning teaching strategy on the reduction of students' anxiety for learning chemistry. Turkish Science Education Journal, 7(1), 30-36. Retrieved from

Saati Masomi, F. (2015). Effects of cooperative learning and group study on reducing test anxiety. International Science Congress Association, 4(10), 64-71

Shaaban, K. (2006). An initial study of the effects of cooperative learning on reading comprehension, vocabulary acquisition, and motivation to read. Reading Psychology, 27(5), 377-403

Slavin,R.E. (1987). Cooperative learning: where behavior and humanities approaches to classroom motivation meet. The Elementary School Journal, 88(1), 29-37. Retrieved from http://

Suwantarathip, O., & Wichadee, S. (2010).The impacts of cooperative learning on anxiety and proficiency in an EFL class. College Teaching and Learning Journal, 7(11), 51-57.

Talebi, F., & Sobhani, A. (2012). The impact of cooperative learning on oral proficiency. Social Sciences Mediterranean Journal, 3(3), 75 2039-2117

Takallou, F., & Veisi, S. (2013). Implementing cooperative learning in a reading class. Report and Opinion, 5(1), 16-23. Retrieved from

Zarei, A. A., & Keshavarz, J. (2012). On the effects of two models of cooperative learning on EFL reading vocabulary learning. Teaching Method Modern Language Journal

Zhang, Y. (2010). Cooperative language learning and foreign language learning and teaching. Language Teaching and Research Journal, 1(1), 81-83. Retrieved from doi:10.4304/jltr.1.1.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research