My enquiry has been on my mind since I last wrote, but I didn’t realise it had been quite so long. Since my last post, I made a few changes to the initial enquiry plan. Due to time pressures, I had to get the children working in groups for their writing (using the Storyline Approach) before I had taught any initial team-building lessons or other strategies that make the cooperative learning approach unique. I decided to run with these unstructured writing groups for a few weeks then introduce different cooperative learning groups for the Games Con project, where I did teach these strategies, then compare the results (through surveying the children on a Google Form).
In February, I welcomed a student teacher into my class. As a third year, she had a set amount of required teaching time to complete, which impacted on the time available for cooperative group-work led by me. I completed a few cooperative group lessons, initially focusing on team-building and the five pillars of cooperative learning, but then moving into using these groups and strategies to teach our I.D.L lessons. This is an approach that my student teacher observed and utilised in her own teaching. The children were aware these groups would be the ones they would be in to design and code games for Games Con. They also worked in these groups to code programmable robots, something that was observed and commended during a school QA visit.
However, on the 20th March, all Scottish schools closed their doors as part of measures to control the spread of the Coronavirus. We are now teaching our classes online using Google Classroom and meeting virtually, twice daily, using Google Meet. Group work isn’t quite as straight-forward as it previously was!
Prior to closing, I knew I wouldn’t be able to continue the enquiry as planned so I had the children complete a survey (the same one they completed prior to being put in cooperative groups) to allow me to compare their feelings towards working together.
I am currently reviewing the data from both surveys as well as my own observations and will share the results in a separate post. Due to the main part of the enquiry being cut short, I don’t feel like there has been enough teaching of the cooperative learning strategies to have created much of a shift in the children’s ability to work with others. I do think it would be possible for me to hold small group conversations with children using Google Meet to ask them for their views, out with the confines of a structured survey.
Adapted from a blog post, first published: 10th April 2020. Available at: https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/mrsclarepirie/2020/04/10/enquiry-update-april-2020/