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Constructing Knowledge Through Talk: Unpacking the dynamics of group interaction in problem-based learning Gillian Hendry, School of Psychological Sciences.

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Presentation on theme: "Constructing Knowledge Through Talk: Unpacking the dynamics of group interaction in problem-based learning Gillian Hendry, School of Psychological Sciences."— Presentation transcript:

1 Constructing Knowledge Through Talk: Unpacking the dynamics of group interaction in problem-based learning Gillian Hendry, School of Psychological Sciences and Health, University of Strathclyde Supervised by Dr Sally Wiggins and Dr Tony Anderson Gillian Hendry, University of Strathclyde

2 A quick overview… o About me o Background information o Research aims o Current work o Future plans

3 Gillian Hendry, University of Strathclyde Who am I? o University of Strathclyde undergraduate/ postgraduate o Supervision by Dr Sally Wiggins (latterly by Dr Tony Anderson) o Undergrad & postgrad dissertations o RA appointment: implementing PBL into psych curriculum o HEA funded: 2012 Doctoral Programme (first intake) o : Investigating group dynamics and interactional practices in the heart of problem-based learning (PBL) sessions

4 Gillian Hendry, University of Strathclyde What is PBL?

5 Gillian Hendry, University of Strathclyde What is PBL? o A way of learning through team work, based upon a problem or scenario o Stems from medical education in the 1960s in Canada; focus on creating deeper, more transferable knowledge o Through PBL, individuals should obtain knowledge of the subject area, as well as key employability skills o Three key characteristics: o Self-directed learning/ real life problems/ collaborative knowledge construction

6 Gillian Hendry, University of Strathclyde What is PBL? 7 steps (pilfered from Maastricht University) 1. Begin to unpack the problem 2. Define any unknowns 3. Brainstorm: discuss different ways to potentially solve the problem 4. Make a systematic review of possible ways to address the problem 5. Define and delegate tasks 6. Perform individual tasks 7. Report and reflect, teach each other, apply new knowledge, address the problem. If necessary, repeat the 7 steps.

7 Gillian Hendry, University of Strathclyde In addition… o Facilitator (lecturer/ class leader) steps out of role of expert, and instead questions and guides group as they work through the problem o Roles such as chair and scribe are assigned, to ensure group stays focused on task o Very different from traditional lecture-taught classes, but applicable in many disciplines

8 Gillian Hendry, University of Strathclyde What is PBL? Students Facilitator Problem

9 Gillian Hendry, University of Strathclyde Current work o While there is growing empirical research to demonstrate that PBL works, there is limited research on the processes involved in understanding exactly how it works o Using discursive psychology will allow a close examination of the mechanisms through which collaborative learning takes place o Discursive psychology has already been successfully applied to teaching and learning contexts, including some pilot work in group tutorial settings (e.g. Benwell & Stokoe, 2002; Clouston, 2007)

10 Gillian Hendry, University of Strathclyde Methodology Discursive psychology/ Conversation analysis o Focuses on psychological themes and how these are constructed, attended to and understood in interaction (Edwards & Potter, 1992) o What does a compliment do? o Opposed to more traditional cognitivist approaches to language; treats talk as a social action instead of a window into ones mental state o Personality traits o Uses studies of naturally occurring conversation to critique the way topics have traditionally been conceptualised in psychology, and offers a new way of understanding

11 Gillian Hendry, University of Strathclyde Research aims o To identify the discursive strategies through which students engage in knowledge construction and collaborative learning. o To create concrete and practical guidelines which can be used to support effective PBL development in other classes, for both students and staff. Innovative teaching!! o To apply psychological research on learning and teaching (cf. Upton & Trapp, 2010) to further the empirical grounding on which approaches such as PBL are based.

12 Gillian Hendry, University of Strathclyde Keeping busy… o 1 st semester: data collection o Around 45 hours worth of video footage from two fourth year psychology classes o Transcribing footage o Early stages of analysis o Using Discursive Psychology to highlight areas of interest; what can we learn about group interaction?

13 Gillian Hendry, University of Strathclyde An example o PBL Group 1, October 2012 PBL Group 1 o Group are reporting their findings back to each other…

14 Gillian Hendry, University of Strathclyde An example: using roles Ava:…when its really a societal issue with homosexuality which needs to be addressed, em so finally- Ella:actually Ava, I was thinking like just to keep my time, Ava:mm hm Ella:youve actually spoken for nearly five minutes already Ava:oh Ella:so um Raymond:heh heh Ella:just think- Ava:strengths and weaknesses Ella:yeah cause were-were gonna be talking about strengths and weaknesses like together anyway Ava:okay Ella:so if we could maybe- Ava:yeah Ella:would that make more sense? Annabel:[yeah Kate:[yeah Ella:to kind of- Annabel:talk about the strengths and weaknesses of both papers together Ava:no thats fine Ella:yeah, is that okay? Ava:yeah yeah! Annabel:just about the findings and stuff Ava:interrupting my flow heh Kate:heh heh heh Ava:nah its cool ((ALL CHUCKLE)) Ella:I had to, I had to, it told me so! trying to finish her point implying agreement interruption hesitancy conflicting responses justifying actions

15 Gillian Hendry, University of Strathclyde Future plans o Continue transcribing/ reading/ coding / more transcribing / more recording / theming / more reading / analysing / more more transcribing… o Succinct preliminary analysis by end of year 1 (Sept 2013) o Future collaborations: o with other Strathclyde departments using PBL (DMEM) o with other institutions (University of Abertay, Coventry University)

16 Gillian Hendry, University of Strathclyde Thats all folks! Contact: Gillian Hendry PhD Researcher School of Psychological Sciences and Health University of Strathclyde Graham Hills Building (6.54) 40 George Street Glasgow G1 1QE References: Benwell, B. & Stokoe, E. (2002). Constructing discussion tasks in university tutorials: Shifting dynamics and identities. Discourse Studies. Vol. 4 (4): Clouston, T. (2007) Exploring methods of analysing talking in problem-based learning tutorials. Journal of Further and Higher Education. Vol. 31 (2): Edwards, D. & Potter, J. (1992). Discursive Psychology. London: Sage. Upton, D. & Trapp, A. (2010) (Eds.) Teaching Psychology in Higher Education. Chichester: BPS Blackwell.


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