ERIC Number: ED342011
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Feb-14
Reference Count: N/A
Using Small Groups for Responses to and Thinking about Literature.
Nystrand, Martin; And Others
Research has shown that in the small group setting, students develop well articulated understandings and better recall of their readings. One study, however, showed negative results in terms of recall, understanding, and personal response for small group work in eighth-grade literature classes. Those findings led to follow-up research on the ninth-grade level. In an examination of 54 ninth-grade English classes, small group activities occurred in only 29 of 216 classes observed, for an average of only 15 minutes at a time. As in the eighth-grade study, the ninth-grade research showed that overall, small group work actually led to lower student achievement. However, regression analysis demonstrated that in the group setting, the greater the degree of student autonomy, the greater was the production of knowledge and the greater the likelihood that group time would contribute to achievement. The apparent ineffectiveness of small group work overall suggests, therefore, that groups are sometimes used ineffectively. When small group time allows students to interact over a problem, they benefit. For group work to succeed, teachers must carefully design collaborative tasks that are interesting to students, and not just to the teacher. (One figure is included; 26 references are attached.) (SG)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Wisconsin Center for Education Research, Madison.; Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools, Madison, WI.