How effective is a whole school approach to collorative group work?: the experiences of teachers and pupils in a South Wales co-educational school over a two year programme.
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff.
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This research investigation was based within a co-educational 1l-18 school, in the south Wales region, which defines itself as a Learning Centred School. The research is timed within an educational setting where there is a requirement for pupils to work together and a challenge for schools to engage learners and develop collaborative learning. The researcher had been on a number of courses, which discussed the benefits of developing pupils' collaborative learning skills through the use of group work activities referred to as 'Talk' strategies. This action research methodology sought to implement a series of changes to the whole school approach of group work by training and working with teaching staff in the use of Talk strategies to develop more effective group work in three subject areas, RE, Welsh and Science, at Key Stage Three. A series of classroom activities were developed which structured, organised and enhanced the development of group work in the classroom by the use of Talk strategies. A number of research instruments were used to assess the effectiveness of the Talk activities and the impact upon learning. The research instruments included independent observations of the effectiveness of group work, audiotapes of pupils working in groups, assessment of the quality of pupils' written work, staff questionnaires, pupil questionnaires and pupil-to-pupil interviews. A number of conclusions were drawn from the research. The majority of pupils stated they enjoyed participating in the Talk activities and felt their learning had they benefited from sharing and discussing ideas with others. Independent observers recorded that the group work was organised and effective, which gave opportunities for a more productive learning environment and the sharing of pupil thoughts and ideas. However, the results of the quality of written work produced by the Talk classes were inconclusive. Work produced by two out of the three classes showed a slight improvement, mainly in the lower national curriculum levels. The research recommends the continued use of a whole school approach to Talk to enhance the skills of working with other pupils in all subject areas, combined with the utilisation of other pedagogical techniques, such as writing frames, to further support the development of written work.
MA Education Thesis
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