Teachers' understandings of the relationship between within-class (pupil) grouping and learning in secondary schools

  • Kutnick P
  • Blatchford P
  • Clark H
 et al. 
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As part of a project designed to provide information on the nature and uses of within-class pupil groupings for teaching and learning in secondary schools in England, this paper focuses on qualitative interviews with 20 teachers from three core curriculum areas in six schools. Interviews concerned the range and explanations for teachers' choices of group size and related teaching and learning practices. Interviews were transcribed and semantically content analysed. Results show that in some subjects (e.g. science and English) small group work formed an integral part of lessons. This was influenced by practical factors such as the need to share equipment or by the inherently interactive nature of the curriculum area (e.g. the role of discussion within English literature). In other subjects, groupings used in classrooms were dependent on individual teacher preferences. Only a few teachers considered the relation of social interaction and thinking, a dominant theme in current theories of learning. Teachers g...

Author-supplied keywords

  • Lesson phases
  • Pupil groupings
  • Secondary school classrooms
  • Social pedagogy

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