1.1 Background of the Study
Education is shaped with respect to the demands of the changing world; a knowledgebased economy has shaped educational approaches, pedagogy and curriculum. Individuals and societies are being shaped spontaneously with respect to changing demands. Countries are beginning to start educational reforms to reach or keep pace with increasing knowledge (Tang et al. 2012; Dogan et al. 2015). This could be achieved through education by raising the individuals who have analytical thinking strategies. In this aspect, it is important that the individuals in the society have science literacy, understanding of science and ability of using scientific process. Active learning is one of the methods which can be used to reach the desired goals (Gardner and Belland 2012).
Active learning may trigger the situational interest of students in topics; thus, this may help students to understand conceptual facts (by using deeper processing strategies). Cooperative learning methods are also one of the active learning methods and it is based on simple psychological needs for competence which promotes learning (Rotgans and Schmidt 2011; Uyanik 2016). Active learning is a good way to facilitate learning because it enhances thinking strategies which in fact develops cognitive skills of students (Buckley et al. 2011; Byrd 2012).
However, to improve the students’ thinking strategies, it is also necessary to ask them appropriate questions. This means teachers should also be prepared for unexpected questions and answers from students. Moreover, it is also important to give students hands-on activities or homework since it is an essential tool of visualizing the lecture topics for the students (Shieh et al. 2010). Studies point out that students, when become teachers, tend to teach in the way they learned through their education life.
This means pedagogy or core concepts taught at school about teaching and information is not embraced by the future teachers but instead they tend to act with respect to facts based on their experiences. In that case, it is important to give information to students (future teachers) in a constructivist approach which may help the students to experience meaningful learning, and help their future students to achieve better meaningful learning (Tang et al. 2012).
Jigsaw technique is one of the active learning techniques used for educational purposes. This technique relies on sharing materials, purpose and time between students within a group. By doing this, it is assumed that students will benefit from each other, socialize, gain responsibility and regulate their learning (Doymus 2007; Yoonkyung and Yongseob 2015). Bonestroo and Jong (2012) pointed out that self-learning activities are one of the key factors increasing students’ critical thinking levels. However, it is also important to incorporate proper planning into learning activities since studies also indicated that planning has the biggest effect among the factors affecting students’ achievement. Cetin and Akkus (2016) also implied similar points of view. In their paper, they implemented jigsaw technique in the chemistry laboratory and they argued that if course content is not related with proper assessment then positive learning outcomes would not be achieved. Implementing cooperative learning in the right way not only increases academic success but also have positive effects on long term retention of knowledge (Dat 2016). Warfa (2016) in his paper showed that there is a positive relationship between cooperative learning and chemistry achievement. Similar findings were reached by Joel et al. (2016), pointing out that cooperative learning groups have better academic achievement than traditional groups and these findings are statistically significant. Yoruk (2016) used Jigsaw technique in Chemistry laboratory, and pointed out in his paper that using Jigsaw technique in chemistry laboratory increases students’ awareness towards chemistry, chemistry laboratory, and their surroundings along with increasing positive social skills.