Roseanne Sutton

Mathematics

St. Andrew's High

  • Cooperative Learning

What happens when individual roles are introduced within a group?

Rationale

One of the most important aspects of education is the ongoing development of pupil’s interpersonal skills throughout primary and secondary school. This is fostered by incorporating group work into the learning process of each pupil which helps prepare them for situations in advanced education and beyond into the world of work. Group work is a great way of increasing the communication between all types of pupils in your class and in particular those pupils who tend to be quieter than others and don’t feel as comfortable answering questions in large class discussions. Although the majority of pupils enjoy being in a group with their friends, it is necessary for the teacher to structure the groups in a way which will take the students outside their comfortable friend groups, and focus on increasing their team working abilities with individuals they may not be familiar with. This will also serve a dual purpose; as a method of interactive learning to further their education with the chosen subject.

This is further established by the findings of (McClellend, Morrison, & Holmes, 2000), wherein they found that there was a solid link between social learning skills and academic performance in students.

This enquiry seeks to explore the concept of clearly defined roles within this group work. These roles are designed around emphasising responsibility and structure that can be difficult to implement in the sometimes chaotic atmosphere of unstructured group work.

Aims

The aim of this enquiry was to investigate the effectiveness of clearly defined group roles within the context of the PIPER acronym established by Dr Mike Caroll in (Caroll & McCulloch, 2014). This study will be investigating the differences between unassigned roles and assigned roles in group work and how the pupils react to the different scenarios.

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