The impact of cooperative learning leadership roles on more able pupils
True inclusivity and equity in the classroom must involve strategies that provide for all learners by supporting their unique needs (Kelly, 2012, Winstanley, 2006). The more able pupil is often overlooked, as they are deemed capable of progressing on their own (Adam & I’Anson, 2020). However, tasks often lack the necessary challenge required to advance their learning (Adam & I’Anson, 2020). Therefore, the use of cooperative learning in mixed groups may be able to provide the essential challenge required for more able pupils, while providing support to those learners requiring it (Shimazoe & Aldrich, 2010). This study therefore aims to answer the research question “Does creating cooperative leadership roles for more able pupils impact learning for all in science?”. This required a concurrent mixed methodology, with qualitative and quantitative data collected via pupil questionnaires and a researcher reflective diary, following the implementation of the Jigsaw strategy. This occurred in a secondary school in South Ayrshire, with thirty-one males and fifty-two females, totalling eighty-three participants (forty-seven of whom responded to the questionnaire). Quantitative data was statistically analysed in R to create GGplots and determine Chi Squared values. Thematic analysis of qualitative data involved open coding followed by axial coding, to generate the over-arching themes of both pupil and researcher responses. Based on GG plots pupils agreed that cooperative work impacted positively on their learning and the Jigsaw strategy supported their needs, so the null hypotheses were rejected (Chi Squared p = 0.654 and 0.822 = >0.05 respectively). It was also accepted that participants believed more able pupils as group leaders had a positive effect on their learning. The ten main themes generated by all qualitative data analysis is as follows: Positive Language & Communication Skills, Group Formation & Running, Improved Learning and Knowledge Acquisition, Fair Leadership Skills, No Changes, Positive Impact on Learning, Teamwork Skills, Responsibility for Task Organisation, Disruption and Enjoyment & Engagement. In conclusion, creating cooperative leadership roles for more able pupils positively impacts learning for children of all needs in science. However, teachers should provide their learners with appropriate training on how best to work cooperatively, to support the development of their social skills.
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