||Various learning strategies and methods were invented to improve student's learning performance and cooperative learning was regarded as one of the most effective methods to do so. However, how to group students into small groups has always been a problem for many ESL teachers. According to the research (Johnson & Johnson, 1994;Sharan, 1990;Slavin, 1995), various criteria of grouping could be applied to compose small groups. The nature of the learning task, the duration of cooperative learning, and the learner's individual characteristics are some factors that ESL teachers could take into consideration when forming small groups in the classroom. Learner's learning styles, their field dependence/independence tendency
for example, could also be applied to group students. Some research findings (Abraham, 1985;Brown, 1994;Stansfield & Hansen, 1983;Witkin, 1977) showed that those with strong field independence tendency were much less sociable as those with strong field dependence tendency. The conflict and tension would be likely to occur between field dependent students and field independent ones if they were not taught proper social skills before they worked together. However, whether learners' FOIFI tendency has certain influence on their performance when working on cooperative learning activities still remained a myth for most ESL teachers. Therefore, the experiment in this study was designed to investigate if a learner's field dependence/ independence tendency is an effective criterion for grouping in an ESL cooperative learning conversation classroom for college students. The subjects were one hundred and twentyfour nonEnglish majors at Tamkang University. The participants were first asked to take the GEFT (Group Embedded Figure Test) to determine their FIIFO tendency. And then they were divided into small groups based on their FIIFO tendency. A cooperative learning activity, roleplay, was conducted while cooperative learning was practiced. Individual interviews and a selfreport survey were conducted at the end of the experiment to examine the attitude of the participants toward the cooperative learning. The results and future implications were provided and fully discussed.