Date of Award/Publication

Spring 2000

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education

Abstract

In this paper, I explored whether directed instruction in small group communication skills and group dynamics can make collaborative group learning more effective in my classroom. In my experience, I have found that educators constantly encourage students to perform tasks in a competitive individualistic environment. Teachers ask them to work alone; they set up reward systems where cooperation among students is discouraged and promote "acceptable" not outstanding work. Unfortunately, teachers are almost setting up students for fai lure in the real world. The environment that teachers create within the classroom does not represent the world that people live in where cooperation, interaction with others and teamwork is emphasized in most environments. Based upon my experience in my own classroom and as a student, I looked for research that would support my argument that directed instruction in small group communication and group dynamics make collaborative group learning more effective. As a new teacher, especially learning in the MST "mode," I found that collaborative group work and cooperative learning is one way students synthesize information more easily. I thought that teaching in a cooperative setting made sense to me as opposed to teaching in a traditional, lecture method. I was taught in this manner and I remember times that peer discussion and group discourse, either small group or whole group, would have helped me as a grade school student instead of a " here do this ditto" education that I received. I thought that I could reach more students using a cooperative environment with direct teaching in group dynamics and small group communication.

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