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World class computing and information science research at Strathclyde...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the Department of Computer & Information Sciences involved in mathematically structured programming, similarity and metric search, computer security, software systems, combinatronics and digital health.

The Department also includes the iSchool Research Group, which performs leading research into socio-technical phenomena and topics such as information retrieval and information seeking behaviour.

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Exploring the characteristics of small groups within science and English secondary classrooms

MacQuarrie, Sarah and Howe, Christine and Boyle, Jim (2012) Exploring the characteristics of small groups within science and English secondary classrooms. Cambridge Journal of Education, 42 (4). pp. 527-546. ISSN 0305-764X

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Abstract

Studies of primary education within the UK have shown that small groups can feature within classrooms; however, equivalent research within secondary education remains scarce. Research has established effective group work approaches, yet secondary teachers may encounter difficulties employing approaches tied to parameters embedded within primary education. This problem is compounded as minor adjustments to the conditions surrounding group work are known to have consequences for its efficacy within classrooms. This paper reports naturalistic systematic observation of group work practice within 23 science and English secondary classrooms in Scotland. Pupils completed tasks according to whether they were situated within group work or conventional classes. Forms of dialogue known to be conducive to learning were prevalent whilst pupils worked in groups. The change in pupils’ behaviours does not appear to stem from the content of teachers’ talk. Teachers’ behaviour suggested they approach small groups as smaller structures equivalent to a whole-class set-up.