The mediation of collaborative pedagogical activity: What happens when the teacher isn't there?

Year: 2005

Author: Brown, Raymond, Hirst, Elizabeth, Renshaw, Peter

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Pedagogies designed to enable collaborative learning, position students on a more equal footing with each other in a manner that facilitates the evaluation of the worth of competing ideas and the co-construction of understanding. However, teachers are often reluctant to implement these collaborative ways of knowing and doing in the classroom as they are deemed to be ineffective when the teacher is unable to participate in and/or supervise the group level process. This paper examines the interactions of four Year 7 students as they go about solving a novel problem-solving task, unrelated to the current work of the classroom, away from the direct supervision of the classroom teacher. Student interactions are analysed in terms of the 'speaking' positions that students take up within the group, the mediational means that they employ, and the quality of the product of their collaboration. Conclusions are drawn about the generalised benefits to student learning of sustained engagement in classroom collaborative learning.