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Improving pupil group work interaction and dialogue in primary classrooms: results from a year-long intervention study

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Findings are reported from a year-long evaluation of the effectiveness of the SPRinG programme relative to a control group. SPRinG aimed to address the wide gap between the potential of group interaction to promote learning and its limited use in schools. The project involved working with teachers to develop strategies for enhancing pupil group work and dialogue, and to implement a pupil relational and group skills training programme. Video observations were conducted of a sub-sample of pupil groups (31 SPRinG; 29 control groups) working on a specially designed group decision-making activity undertaken in everyday classroom settings. SPRinG groups displayed higher levels of participation, engagement, active and sustained discussion, high level inferential joint reasoning and lower levels of group disruptive blocking behaviours. We argue that group work can be successfully implemented into everyday school classrooms, and improve pupil interactions and high level discussion, provided teachers take time to train pupils in relational and group working skills.

Keywords: Group work; dialogue; pedagogy; systematic observation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Institute of Education, University of London, London, UK 2: University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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