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ERIC Number: EJ1178026
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1029-8457
Student Perspectives on Group Work in Support of the Learning of Mathematics at High School and at a University of Technology
Armien, Mogamat Noor; le Roux, Kate
African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, v14 n2 p42-55 2010
Debates on improving performance in science and engineering at higher education institutions have stressed the need for institutions to adopt pedagogic practices appropriate for the setting. In this paper we contribute to this debate by presenting the results of empirical research conducted in a first-year foundation mathematics course for Civil Engineering students at a University of Technology in South Africa. Using the perspective of learning as participation in a community as a theoretical framework, the paper focuses on a particular type of student learning community, that is, small group work for the learning of mathematics. We use individual interviews to investigate students' perspectives on small group work in support of their learning of mathematics at high school and in the foundation mathematics course. The results suggest that students have considerable experience of working in groups inside and outside the classroom at school, and they identify conditions conducive for group work, including having a sense of belonging in a group. They value group work for providing support that may not be provided by the lecturer, for example, by obtaining alternative explanations (often in their home language), sharing ideas on problem solving, and getting immediate feedback. We argue that higher education institutions should draw on students' experience of group work and create the space for this type of student learning community both inside and outside the mathematics classroom. We also use the empirical results to develop the notion of "community" as described in the theoretical perspective of learning.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A