This project was associated with the Phase II SPRinG project, 'Improving
Effectiveness of Pupil Groups in Classrooms', which was intended
to establish the conditions necessary for group activities to produce
definite educational benefits (in terms of learning and quality
of classroom relationships), and to design ways of helping teachers
to introduce effective group work into their classes at Key Stages
1-3 of the National Curriculum in England. The Scottish Extension
project sought to extend such support to science teaching with 10-12
year olds in three types of primary school in Scotland:
- Small rural schools with composite classes and cross-age group
work between familiar peers;
- Urban schools with composite classes and cross-age group work
between less familiar peers;
- Urban schools with same-age group work.
Interest here centred on the fact that group work between children
of different ages tends to lead to older children tutoring the younger
ones, rather than to more equal collaboration between them, which
is what the programmes of support for teachers are designed to encourage.
The research tested how far the SPRinG support programmes need
to be modified to promote group work where there is a different
natural dynamic, adding to the understanding of the ways in which
different forms of productive group activity can be promoted, and
extending the social pedagogy being developed by SPRinG.