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How does collaborative group work affect science learning?

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Presentation on theme: "How does collaborative group work affect science learning?"— Presentation transcript:

1 How does collaborative group work affect science learning?

2 Key issue addressed by the study This UK study examined the effectiveness of the SPRinG (Social Pedagogic Research into Group-work) programme, which aimed to: This UK study examined the effectiveness of the SPRinG (Social Pedagogic Research into Group-work) programme, which aimed to: –increase the amount and quality of group work –provide teachers with strategies for enhancing pupils work in groups

3 The effects of group work on science learning Pupils who took part in the SPRinG project: Pupils who took part in the SPRinG project: –showed more progress than the control group on general science tests –showed significantly more progress than the control group on specific test questions on evaporation/ condensation and forces

4 Gender and prior attainment Low, middle and high attainers made equal progress Low, middle and high attainers made equal progress There were no differences between the progress boys and girls made over the year There were no differences between the progress boys and girls made over the year

5 Group work skills pupils need Pupils needed to develop their skills in: Pupils needed to develop their skills in: –listening, sharing and explaining ideas –learning to trust and respect one another –planning and organising –developing independence –taking responsibility for their own learning

6 Classroom organisation Ways of organising the classroom that helped included: Ways of organising the classroom that helped included: –increasing the proximity of pupils to each other –ensuring group sizes of 2-4 pupils that are stable for at least a term

7 Teachers perception and planning It was important that the task was set up to encourage pupils to work together It was important that the task was set up to encourage pupils to work together For example, giving a single answer (and question) sheet to the group encouraged communication between group members For example, giving a single answer (and question) sheet to the group encouraged communication between group members

8 The teachers role Teachers supported group work by: Teachers supported group work by: –circulating between and monitoring groups rather than working with one particular group –guiding groups when they encountered difficulties –modeling and reinforcing good social and conversation skills –coaching individual children and groups in co- operation skills

9 Allocating pupils roles in group work Roles were allocated to group members to encourage a feeling of group responsibility: Roles were allocated to group members to encourage a feeling of group responsibility: allocating roles were most effective when pupils were experienced at group work allocating roles were most effective when pupils were experienced at group work roles such as scribe, chairperson and spokesperson were introduced early on roles such as scribe, chairperson and spokesperson were introduced early on teachers initially suggested who did what but later pupils did this themselves teachers initially suggested who did what but later pupils did this themselves

10 Teachers support for learning in group work Teachers supported pupils and maintained challenge, through scaffolding, involving: Teachers supported pupils and maintained challenge, through scaffolding, involving: –structuring lessons to create stepping stones through pupils learning –encouraging reflection on group processes –monitoring and guiding group interactions, rather than dominating them

11 Who were the children in the study? The project involved 560 year four and five pupils from 21 classes in 12 London schools The project involved 560 year four and five pupils from 21 classes in 12 London schools The control groups came from a different area of London and involved 1027 year four and five pupils from 40 classes in 19 schools The control groups came from a different area of London and involved 1027 year four and five pupils from 40 classes in 19 schools

12 Teachers professional development Researchers worked with teachers over the year to support implementation Researchers worked with teachers over the year to support implementation Lesson plans were implemented over 14 weeks, with one training session and one reinforcement session a week Lesson plans were implemented over 14 weeks, with one training session and one reinforcement session a week Control groups followed the same curriculum in the usual way Control groups followed the same curriculum in the usual way

13 How was the information gathered? Test results collected at the start and end of each school year Test results collected at the start and end of each school year Assessment of pupils performance on individual topics such as forces and evaporation/condensation Assessment of pupils performance on individual topics such as forces and evaporation/condensation

14 How can teachers use this evidence? Making group work effective takes planning and organisation. Could you promote effective group work by: Making group work effective takes planning and organisation. Could you promote effective group work by: working with pupils to develop group rules for dialogue? working with pupils to develop group rules for dialogue? using feedback on how to give or receive help to encourage pupils to work together? using feedback on how to give or receive help to encourage pupils to work together? holding a class discussion on how to sustain a positive atmosphere in groups? holding a class discussion on how to sustain a positive atmosphere in groups? encouraging participation by allocating roles such as scribe or chairperson? encouraging participation by allocating roles such as scribe or chairperson?

15 How can school leaders use this evidence? The study showed the importance of developing teachers skills in managing group work that promoted high quality talk The study showed the importance of developing teachers skills in managing group work that promoted high quality talk How might you set up a professional development programme for increasing teachers skills in group work?How might you set up a professional development programme for increasing teachers skills in group work? What kinds of group work are taking place in classes in your school? Are there experts among your staff who could work with others to develop their skills?What kinds of group work are taking place in classes in your school? Are there experts among your staff who could work with others to develop their skills?

16 Follow-up reading Study reference: Study reference: Baines, E. Blatchford, P. and Chowne, A. (2006) Improving the effectiveness of collaborative group work in primary schools: effects on science attainment British Educational Research Journal 33 (5) pp British Educational Research Journal 33 (5) pp You might like to read a more detailed summary about of this research, accessible at: You might like to read a more detailed summary about of this research, accessible at: sten/collabscience/ sten/collabscience/

17 Feedback Did you find this useful? Did you find this useful? What did you like? What did you like? What didnt you like? What didnt you like? Any feedback on this Research Bite would be much appreciated. Please your feedback to:


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