Originally published in 1984, this is an account of a two-year study of four comprehensive school classrooms, where teachers were fostering collaborative learning methods. The authors draw on their joint knowledge and experience as a psychologist and a teacher to give an insight into pupils’ perceptions of their schooling, and a dynamic analysis of the process of education that they experienced.
Working on the premise that successful collaboration demands common goals and mutual understanding, the author observed pupils at work, transcribed their talk, and carried out interviews with both pupils and their teachers. They show how individual children can support and learn from each other, document the social and psychological features underlying the use, or non-use, of collaboration, and take the teachers’ own frames of reference as a standpoint in evaluating success.
The authors’ findings were intended to encourage teachers to move away from the traditional view of education as the transmission of knowledge to passive pupils. Social relationships within the classroom can potentially be, not merely a source of disruption, but the basis of learning itself. This possibility is particularly significant in the context of inner-city schools where there is often mutual mistrust and hostility across lines of race, class, gender or ability.
Acknowledgements. 1. The Concerns of the Study 2. The Conduct of the Study 3. Mac’s Second Year Design and Technology Class 4. Islay’s Fifth Year Social Studies Class 5. Terry’s Second Year Humanities Class 6. Rachel’s Second and Third Year Humanities (Drama) and English Class 7. Reflections of the Study. Appendix: Questions about School and Out of School Life. Bibliography. Index.