Date of Award

1990

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Education (Hons.)

School

School of Education

First Advisor

Mr Kevin Barry

Abstract

In recent years small group cooperative learning has been given increasing attention by researchers. This interest has been a result of n growing awareness of the benefits that small group cooperative learning can bring to the learning process. These benefits include gains in areas of academic achievement, self-confidence as a learner, cross-cultural/cross-racial relationships, social acceptance of mainstreamed students, and improved attitudes towards school and learning. A particular focus of North American researchers has been small group cooperative learning in mathematics. Little work had been done in this area in Western Australian schools and with the changed emphasis in the Western Australian primary school mathematics syllabus away from rote learning and pen and paper calculations toward discovery learning a local study seemed appropriate, This pilot study proposed to investigate the relationship between the composition of cooperative small groups, heterogeneous or homogeneous, and the learning of a mathematical concept in the primary school years. The literature in this area was surveyed with emphasis on the rationale for small group cooperative learning, different kinds of small group cooperative learning focusing on the Groups of Four model, heterogeneous and homogeneous group composition, and group composition in mathematics related to expected achievement and social outcomes. The conceptual framework for this pilot study emerged from both the literature in this area and the direction being taken by a team of W.A.C.A.E. researchers who are investigating small group cooperative learning techniques.

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