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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Improving the Effectiveness of Pupil Groups in Classrooms

Grant reference: L139251046

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Occasional paper details

TLRP: The SPRinG project: the case for group work in schools
There are three main contexts for learning in any classroom. First, there are those involving interactions between the teacher and pupils in the class. Second there are those when children are working on their own on a task. The third is when children are working with each other. If you go into any classroom it is likely that you will see quite a lot of the first and also of the second - we know from many studies of classrooms that children spend much of their time either listening to the teacher or working on their own - but it is likely that you will see very little of the third. They can be seated in groups, of course, but they are not often working AS a group. The authors and their colleagues have conducted a programme of research in both primary and secondary schools in England which has provided a thorough description of grouping practices in classrooms. We have found that pupils are often seated in groups but rarely work in a collaborative way. Teachers rarely set up groups with a clear learning purpose; groups are usually formed (or not formed) in the interests of concerns about classroom control and in response to the classroom layout. There is little sign of a systematic relationship between features of groupings, such as group size, and learning purposes or the nature of the task set. The paper discusses what group work is, what kinds of benefits it provides, why group work works, and types of resistances to group work found in schools. It also provides a description of activities developed within the SPRinG Programme to promote group work in classrooms.
Original Document

Primary contributor

Author P Blatchford

Additional details