ERIC Number: ED390570
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Examining the Nature of Helping Interactions in Primary School Children in Years 2, 4, and 6.
Gillies, Robyn M.; Ashman, Adrian F.
To study the effects of structured cooperative learning environments on helping interactions and behaviors in the early, middle, and later primary school years, a study was conducted in 11 classrooms across 4 schools in suburban Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Subjects were 172 children (56 in year 2, 68 in year 4, and 52 in year 6). Through stratified random assignment, 1 high-ability student, 2 medium-ability students, and 1 low-ability student were placed in workgroups. Workgroups were then assigned to a structured or unstructured cooperative learning environment. While they undertook activities assigned by their teachers, groups were observed and children's cooperative behaviors assessed. The language children used was noted, and a questionnaire captured children's perceptions of the group experience. Results showed that children in the two conditions showed marked differences in behaviors, types of language used, and styles of interaction. Compared to the unstructured group children, children in structured groups were more cooperative, helpful, and willing and able to involve every member in the task at hand; children in structured groups also used more inclusive language ("we" or "us," for example) and assisted each other in the learning process. Such behaviors were noted in the structured groups at all three age levels. (Contains 7 tables and 24 references.) (JW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Australia; Otis Lennon School Ability Test
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the International Association for the Study of Cooperation in Education (IASCE) (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, June 30-July 3, 1995).