ERIC Number: ED379078
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Apr-4
Grade-Level Status Effects in Multiage Groupwork: The Lady Bountiful Syndrome.
Young, Allison J.; Boyle, Robert A.
A study investigated whether grade-level status affects learning through cross-age activities. Data were collected through unstructured and open-ended audiotaped interviews with 11 pairs of students in a combined third- and fifth-grade class. Coding and analysis of data revealed seven themes related to students' perceptions of their interactions as they worked in cross-age pairs. Three themes were elaborated upon: (1) "We both know different things"; (2) "Because they help us a lot"; and (3) "We work together." Interactions between these themes were investigated to see how and why status differences influence small group work. Status was defined by grade level/age, and therefore, knowledge. Results showed that fifth graders perceived the third graders as incapable and therefore did things for the third graders as opposed to trying to help them learn to do them on their own. Results suggest that the effects of differences in knowledge status in small groups can lead to interactions that do not foster learning on the part of either the high- or the low-status partner. Suggested ways to deal with this "Lady Bountiful syndrome" in classrooms include assigning lower status students to leadership positions and "preteaching" key elements to lower status students. (BAC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 4-8, 1994).