A STUDY OF EFFECTS OF SMALL GROUPS TEACHING ON THE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF THE STUDENTS ABDUR REHMAN, KHURSHID AHMED AND RAZIA SULTANA Institute of Education & Research, Gomal University Dera Ismail Khan. (NWFP) Pakistan. ABSTRACT The size of the group affects the learning level of the students. Teaching in small groups improves interpersonal relations among students, promotes problems solving and develops more effective communication skills. Keeping into view the significance role played by teaching to small groups the study was designed. A sample consisting 4th grade students was taken as it was divided it to two equal groups i.e. control group and experimental group. Pre-test were used as to know the performance of the students before and after treatment. In order to analyze data t-test as a statistical technique was applied. The results showed significant difference in achievement of control and experimental group. It was concluded that students in small groups learn respect for another’s point of view they learns that their ideas must be presented for review in the court of group to which they belong. Student benefiting from the knowledge, understanding potential of the some students present in the class by usually scattering them in different groups. The environment of small group allow students to interact with each other with full freedom and to ask teacher about any problem which require solution. This suggests that small classes have a greater effect in enhancing the quality of classroom dealing. _________________________________________________________________________________________ INTRODUCTION All the amount scholars lay great emphasis that the size of lass is to some extent a dividing factor to make the total personality of the child. But in our country the classes are over crowed, due to which we can not create in the young beaver the vital pre requisite knowledge and skill on which all other higher learning activities depend. The study responds to the reality that an environment conducive for quality education is absent from our educational intuitions especially at primary level. The drop out rate in elementary schools is alarming in the country. According to some studies, less than 40% primary school children could read with comprehension, and one fifth can write a letter. These are the possible negative effects of larger number of students enrolled in a single class, in small size classes teacher though mutual under standing can place more demands an all students to take part and complete in academic and non academic activities than crowded classes where frequent interactions between teacher and students are arrived this suggest that small classes have a greater effect in enhancing the quality of class room dealing. How can are make our selves in a position to decrease the enrollment ratio in our classes as to achieve increase in quality of teaching and learning. Study is a step forward to answer this question by improving the network of relationships within classroom. SIGNIFICANCE Class with mall size is the best remedy for improving the quality of education and student teacher interaction in an overpopulated country like Pakistan. It enable the teacher to introduce variety into the work of the class, and, every now and then to give a type of work, having in itself elements which are considered essential for true development of the child. In some schools where classes are over crowed two concepts of small class in used as a technique and a heavy class is derided into manageable group of small size. This is used as a ‘via media’ or a compromise between traditional approach and modern approach to teaching learning process. The system gives some of the advantages of both these approaches and also removes some of the defects. It is positive step toward enhancing the qualitative and quantitative aspects of educative process. It is helpful to grade the students with in the same class for certain purposes and in accordance with the abilities and specific interests of the students. This may provide for more involvement and interdependency in learning process. More recently in developing countries these have been attempts to adapt this approach to improve the institutional environment within which these small groups of children function, on the assumption that in addition to promoting organizational climate this may provide greater 85 Rehman et al., Gomal University Journal of Research, 21: 84-88 (2005) opportunities for individual personal growth. It will meet the demand of more participation on the part of learners, and for better communication between teacher and students. DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY The discussion about design and methodology has been divided into the following six parts: I Population II Sampling III Instrumentation IV Method of Collecting data i.e. the experimental design V Procedure VI Description of statistics and the analysis of data POPULATION All the 9th and 6th grade students of Government Girls Secondary and Higher Secondary Schools of Dera Ismail Khan City were included in the study. SAMPLING This section has been subdivided into two part: Sampling of the students and the teachers 1. Sampling of the Students The school used for study: G.G.H.S No-1, D.I.Khan. The process of sampling: Simple random sampling using draw method technique Sample size at the secondary stage: 80 Sample size at the elementary stage: 112 2. Sampling of the Teachers Two teachers, almost similar in respect of educational qualifications, age, training, teaching experience at the secondary level, socio-economic status and their reputation at the school were selected at the secondary level. One teacher was randomly assigned to the experimental and the other to the control group. Similar procedure was adopted at the elementary level. INSTRUMENTATION The following were used as instruments for the study. Two achievement tests (pre-test and post-test) in the subject of English both for the secondary and the elementary stages. Different aspects of grammar relevant at the secondary and elementary stage. 1) Elementary Stage The use of noun, pronoun, verb, time words and different tenses such as simple present, present continuous tense and simple past tense. 2) Secondary Stage The use of nouns, verbs, adjectives, the use of "for" and "since", the use of different tenses with the application of the relevant rules, change of narration. Five lessons of A text-book of English for class IX (Book-I). Six lessons of a text-book of English for class VI (Book-I). Different group work activities. Observation form for determining the proportionate amount of time taken by “students” “students + teachers” and “teacher” in each group. Instructions for the teachers. An attitude scale for measuring the attitude of the experimental group towards group work at each stage. METHOD OF COLLECTING DATA I.E. THE EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN In this experimental study, the pretest-posttest Equivalent group design was used (adopted from Watanable; Hare, and Lomax, 1984 and Iqbal 1986). This design may be represented as (Best, and Kahn, 1986, p.127): R O1 X O2 X gain = O2 - O1 R O3 C O4 C gain O4 - O3 Where: R= Random assignment of subjects to groups. X= Exposure of a group to an experimental (treatment) variable C= Exposure of a group to the control condition O1, O3 = Pretests O2 , O4 = Posttests The test used for measuring the significance of the difference between means = Z test (for large sample). PROCEDURE 1. Administration of the Pre-test The relevant pre-test was administered to the students of both the experimental and control Rehman et al., Gomal University Journal of Research, 21: 84-88 (2005) 86 group at each stage i.e. elementary and secondary to make sure that both the groups at each stage were equivalent at the time of starting the experiment. . 2 Pre-treatment Conditions Equal conditions for both the groups at each stage were established i.e. all factors of the time of the day and treatment length in time were equaled. 3. Treatment The students of the two selected groups at each stage i.e. elementary and secondary were taught by their respective teachers. Both the groups at each stage were exposed to essentially the same experience, except for the method of instruction. The experimental group at each stage was taught English grammar through group work activities by using the inductive teaching model. The following phases of activities (Joyce and Weil, 1996, pp.152-154) were used 1) Strategy One: Concept Formation -Phase one: Enumeration and listing -Phase two: Grouping -Phase three: Labeling, categorizing. 2. Strategy Two: Interpretation of data -Phase Four: Identifying critical relationships -Phase Five: Exploring relationships -Phase Six: Making inferences 3. Strategy Three: Application of principles. The number of students in a group within the experimental group at each stage = 5 Type of groups = Mixed ability groups Technique of grouping = The pre-test scores at each stage used for grouping. The raw material used for group work at each stage = Mainly taken from the relevant lessons of the relevant text-books. The method of teaching used for the control group at each stage = Teaching of English grammar with the help of textbook, using deductive method. Duration of teaching = About one month with daily period of 35 minutes at each stage. 4. Administration and scoring of the post-test At the end of the treatment period, the relevant post-tests were administered to the students of both the experimental and control group at each stage. The tests were administered and scored by their respective teachers. The data were analyzed on computer through computer program (stagraphics). 5. Variables at Both the Elementary and Secondary Stage 1) Independent variables. Teaching of English grammar through group work. Teaching of English grammar with the help of textbook, using deductive method. 2) Dependent Variables Scores in the achievement test (post-test) in the subject of English at the elementary and the secondary stage. 3) Variables controlled Teacher, time, sex, content of the course and classroom conditions. 4) Variables Uncontrolled I.Q of the students, their previous achievement, socio-economic status, their anxieties, self concept, interests and attitudes. DESCRIPTION OF STATISTICS AND THE ANALYSIS OF DATA Data were arranged and analyzed: The data were analyzed on computer through computer program "Statgraphics". 1. The Achievement tests (pre-test and post test) The use of mean, standard deviation, variance and the test of the significance of the difference between the means of the two independent groups (Z-test). Level of significance = 05 Criterion for the rejection of null hypothesis = Significance of the difference between means of the two groups at each stage. 2. The Attitude scale In the case of attitude scale, the data were analyzed by calculating the percentage of the frequency counts in respect of each category of the response i.e. 'Yes', 'No' and undecided. 3. The observation Form for calculating the proportionate amount of time taken by the "teacher", "teacher + Students" and "students". The proportionate amount of time in respect the elementary as well as secondary stage was calculated by finding the percentage of the time taken by the "teacher", "teacher + students" and students in each group and at each stage. Findings, conclusions and recommendations were made on the basis of analysis of data. 87 Rehman et al., Gomal University Journal of Research, 21: 84-88 (2005) DISCUSSION The importance of small group participation for education program has been urged by Jersild (1965) and combs (1970). According to them all possibilities for the use of small group education are aimed essentially at developing individual self worth, releasing potential and facilitating self acceptance and acceptance of others. Present study sports this viewpoint because it showed that when any student engages in activities of small group and interacts with others, not does he become more aware of the work, but more importantly he is also actively involved in determining who he is. In other words, he is creating his own meaning and purpose in life rather than passively waiting for life t create it for him. Participation in small groups tends to open to new experiences. Dunn (1976) studied the effects of group on the performance of its member two groups one crowed and other small in size were treated for period of there months. The analysis of post test and pre-test differences indicate that performance of students enrolled in small group remained high. The present study is in line with this result due to small group’s better scores on post test. Bruce in (1968) found that small group of pupils who were subjected to a program that enabled them to understand and develop greater inwrought inter their own behaviour and to the behaviour of people around them should gain in under standing and improved score on test over a pupil of crowed group. Present study has sufficient evidence to support the study conducted by Bruce (1968). According to Lawrence (1978) small group experiences are particularly suitable vehicle for making student, competent because they are motivated to assume responsibility for their own growth. There are chances of student and teacher one-to-one conferences as to discuss suitable individual goals and realistic plans for accomplishing the work of each child. Within limits and structure rets by teacher, every child have frequent chances to contact the teacher to evaluate the appropriateness of his goals to plans to assess the progress he has modiousing this feedback the child is directed and consequently he shows better results. This study noted that student of small group availed the chances provided to them and resultantly they improved their performance. The study is consistent with the work done by Ernest D., McDonial and Johan F. Feldhusen (1979) they found that class size was the factor that was most positively correlated with students ratings of various aspects the course. In some cases the correlation was negative, which means that the smaller is the class, the greater the satisfaction expressed by the students, and the larger is the class size, the less the satisfaction, followed by low achievement. We can explain this relationship in terms of the teacher’s ability to develop comfortable, mutually trusting relationships within students to get some insight into students needs. But a more fundamental explanation may be found in the fact that smaller classes permit more interpersonal interaction and thus enable each student to receive more attention either the teacher or form the group leader. According to Melhofer (1981) P. 65, Research has given support to the idea that the group, structured by teacher expectation for problem solving and major participation, can help the individual pupil develop skills in critical and independent thought. This point of view has been an under lying assumption in much educational writing supporting “small group work”. A further basic assumption, not so carefully analyzed, is that this freedom of thought and judgement in the developing child is freedom from excessive dependence on adults and freedom from the traditional authority of the textbook. This article provides evidence that working in small groups can give the child strength and training to improve his performance and movement toward muter judgement. RESULT We should behave as the result of the study indicated that in conventional classroom children are underestimated, and that they possess skills and competencies which are rarely could upon in classroom, and this why the importance of small group interaction contributed to the better performance of children in experimental group. According to Lewin (1978) “group is the ground we stand on” in other words the interactions pattern of children necessitates their habit to a group in which they are accepted and have a functional role and whose ways of doing things are familiar and convertible. Rehman et al., Gomal University Journal of Research, 21: 84-88 (2005) 88 RECOMMENDATIONS Healthy group relationships may be promoted. Children may be helped to develop positive attitude about the members of his own group. Children need help in acquiring understanding of how it feels to be in the other person’s shoes. Teacher may use problem solving method which involves data gathering, testing of myth against reality, and establishing hypotheses and alternative solution, will aid children to develop reasonable behaviour in regard to other members up the groups. Maximum number of students in a class must not more the forty. Practice of dividing class into manageable groups may be following at each level of schooling. Methods of teaching through small size group may be included in the curriculum of teacher training institutions. In service teacher may be given opportunities to get command over the ways and means which are necessary for teaching through small groups. Special funds may be allocated which could be used for developing inter group competition and having among different group working with single class. Those groups we get first rank may be awarded prizes this wile encourage the member of the particular group and will motivation the other groups to work hard. Literature developed by experts concurring the role of small size group may be published and should be made available at marked. Logically these two were thought in small size groups would get high score. Thus position and score in examination may be presented for public interest and motivation at parent’s day. REFERENCE Bruce, P. (1968) relationship of self-concept with other variables, journal of educational Psychology Vol. 59 USA. Dunn (1976) A model of school analysis, journal of educational psychology. Ernest Esson, Morris. E (1979) Psychological foundations of education Holt, Revehart and Winston INC. Jersild (1965) John F (1979) Bayley, M (1974) democratic educational theory New York, Harpur. Todd, frankie (1987) communication and learning in small group, kegan pail, London. Malhofor, suran s .the student and learning environment, National education foundation Washington Dc. Gnagey William J. (1976) a maintenance of a learning environment from controlling classroom misbehavior. New York, Harpur. Grambs Jean D. (1974) ‘Group interactions’ significant force in learning.
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