NOMAD 11(1), 2006. Accountability affects the use of small group learning in school mathematics

Skapad: 2006-05-01. Ändrad: 2006-11-02  

NOMAD 11(1), 2006. Accountability affects the use of small group learning in school mathematics

 

John Berry and Pasi Sahlberg
Abstract
This study investigates the perspectives of a sample of teachers on the use of cooperative small groups in the teaching and learning of mathematics. We asked teachers (N = 18) in England and Finland about their experiences and ideas of small group learning in mathematics. The research tool used the ordering by each teacher of eight mathematics tasks into a hierarchy from those tasks that are best for small group working to those tasks that are best for individual working as a frame for in-depth interviews. We conclude that the role of small group learning as seen by most of the teachers is for doing mathematics, introducing social skills and discussion rather than learning mathematical knowledge and skills. Furthermore we report on the barriers to using small group learning caused by the accountability structures inherent in the educational systems of both countries.

Sammanfattning
I den föreliggande studien undersöktes en grupp lärares uppfattningarom användning av elevsamarbete i smågrupper vid undervisning i matematik. Vi frågade 18 lärare i England och Finland om deras erfarenheter och idéer gällande lärande av matematik i smågrupper. Lärarna fick i uppgift att ordna åtta matematikuppgifter hierarkiskt, från de uppgifter som lämpar sig bäst för arbete i smågrupper till uppgifter som lämpar sig bäst för individuellt arbete. Undersöknings-instrumentet utnyttjade de ordnade uppgifterna som ett ramverk för djupintervjuer. Vår konklusion är att användningen av smågrupps-inlärning, enligt de flesta lärarna, bäst lämpar sig för att lösa matematiska uppgifter, introducera sociala färdigheter och diskussion framom att lära sig matematiska kunskaper och färdigheter. Vi belyser också svårigheter, då det gäller användningen av smågruppsinlärning, som sammanhänger med underliggande strukturer i de båda ländernas undervisningssystem.

JOHN BERRY
Professor John Berry is Professor of Mathematics Education at The University of Plymouth, is Mathematics Professor in Residence at Wells cathedral School, Somerset, is a consultant to the National Academy of Gifted and Talented Youth delivering workshops to members of the Academy and to primary pupils and delivers professional development courses for teachers nationally and internationally. His research interests are in mathematics education, particularly students’ development and understanding of key concepts, the use of hand-held technology and symbolic algebra in learning and teaching mathematics.

PASI SAHLBERG
Dr. Pasi Sahlberg is a Senior Education Specialist in the World Bank, Washington, DC. He is a former Counsellor of Education in the National Board of Education (Finland) and director of the Centre for School Development in the University of Helsinki. He has worked as a mathematics teacher, teacher educator and researcher. He has also advised several governments in their mathematics education reforms. His main fields of research interests are school improvement, global education policies and mathematics education.