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Social effects of collaborative learning in primary schools

Tolmie, Andrew and Topping, Keith and Christie, Donald and Donaldson, Caroline and Howe, Christine and Jessiman, Emma and Livingston, Kay and Thurston, Allen (2010) Social effects of collaborative learning in primary schools. Learning and Instruction, 20 (3). pp. 177-191. ISSN 0959-4752. DOI UNSPECIFIED

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There is conflicting evidence on whether collaborative group work leads to improved classroom relations, and if so how. A before and after design was used to measure the impact on work and play relations of a collaborative learning programme involving 575 students 9-12 years old in single- and mixed-age classes across urban and rural schools. Data were also collected on student interactions and teacher ratings of their group-work skills. Analysis of variance revealed significant gains for both types of relation. Multilevel modelling indicated that better work relations were the product of improving group skills, which offset tensions produced by transactive dialogue, and this effect fed through in turn to play relations. Although before intervention rural children were familiar with each other neither this nor age mix affected outcomes. The results suggest the social benefits of collaborative learning are a separate outcome of group work, rather than being either a pre-condition for, or a direct consequence of successful activity, but that initial training in group skills may serve to enhance these benefits.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the first detailed within-classroom study of the processes by which collaborative group work affects social relations between classmates, and how these effects interact with the cognitive demands of group tasks. The large stratified sample, together with the use of multi-level modelling techniques made it possible to demonstrate that the processes involved are uniform across school context, and actually serve to correct intial disparities in classroom relations. This demonstration of the mechanisms by which collaborative work can have conjoint cognitive and social effects is of considerable significance for the implementation of effective group work practices in schools.
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Psychology and Human Development
Depositing User: Katie Mooney
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2009 16:27
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2015 08:35
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