Best Practice

Group work in the post-16 classroom: Five questions

How can we make group work effective in the key stage 5 classroom, including accommodating, stretch, challenge and support? Erin Miller takes a look
Image: Adobe Stock

In primary schools, grouping is ubiquitous. In building learning and fostering social and collaborative skills, primary school teachers thoughtfully place members of the class into working groups.

Within primary schools, research suggests demonstrable benefits of group work. These include some positive effects on students’ attainment, improved attitudes in multicultural settings, and better social atmosphere in classrooms (for a useful overview, see Kutnick & Blatchford, 2014).

As we know, students making progress when working in groups is far from guaranteed. Galton et al (1999 – as cited in Kutnick & Blatchford, 2014) found that, although in many primary classrooms children sit in groups, they rarely interact and work as groups. Galton et al also found that task-focused interactions between students often involved information exchange as opposed to discussing ideas.

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