Impact of grouping arrangements on pupils in the primary school classroom?
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The purpose of this research will be to explore the impact of grouping arrangements in the primary school classroom. The research will be conducted in three schools in South Wales and will consider the views and experiences of teachers and their assistants. Interest in my chosen topic arose due to various school placements that had taken place as part of the university course, along with additional voluntary periods in schools in the surrounding area. During these placements my role appeared similar to that expected of a teaching assistant. As I continued to work in these placements, in addition to the expected time frame set out by the module, relationships with teachers and assistants were established. This provided an opportunity to gain a better insight into classroom management and the roles that each adult fulfilled. As a result, it became apparent that the assistant in the classroom was given the duty of tending to the needs of those in the less able groups. Therefore, as the researcher I wanted to consider whether the children in the less able groups were segregated, although in the same classroom as their peers. Concern was raised as I viewed that less able groups were being taught by the assistant, instead of the trained and qualified teacher.Reports from the BBC News website (2011) and Institute of Education (2003) highlight children from the age of 6 are being streamed by ability. The reviews continue to state that those streamed groups often remained the same throughout primary school education. This research enhanced my desire to conduct a research project in this area. These reports considered much of the concerns I also share in relation to the classroom. Although the Foundation Phase (WAG 2008) wants an emphasis towards learning through play in the early years, experiences I have acknowledged tend to keep to a degree streaming in the classroom. As many relatives and friends are primary school teachers, I can understand and appreciate the challenges teachers face. Although this is only a small-scaled research project, I still feel that the findings can provide a clearer insight into the management of classrooms in the local area. The research will be focused around three local schools and consider how those classrooms are managed. Research will be gathered through a constructed questionnaire, with the aim of gaining crucial details and information which can be fully explored in the second phase of the data collection. The second phase of the data collection will include semistructured interviews, with the intention of exploring those answers provided in the questionnaires. As the researcher, I will look to select interviewees that are teaching and adopting similar approaches in their given year group. This will mean that the data collected in phase 2 can be compared and contrasted, where necessary, due to the interviewees teaching in the same year groups in their respective schools.
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