44 Learning science in small groups
Member 2: will collect all the information
Member 3: will coordinate and analyze all the information
Member 4: will be responsible for documentation and presenting the result
Students’ visualizations presented above are aligned with the four group roles as suggested by Hackling (2003), which may help participants to manage and organize the group work. This may also influence group work for a better construction of understanding.
Teacher Guidance. The majority of the students (60.5%) opine that the teachers instruct properly when involving students in group work. However a good number of them (39.5%) express that teachers’ instructions are not appropriate. Some students find that the teachers expect too much without giving enough guidance. One of such a student’s comments is as follows.
There is a huge gap between teacher’s instruction and what she expects.
While almost all the students (95.2%) see teachers’ instruction as very important, a minority of them (4.8%) do not like such instructions:
If I am allowed to work according to my own [instead of according to teacher’s guidance], I can best utilize my creativity and merit.
The above results indicate that students are divided into two groups regarding the issue of teacher’s guidance. Therefore it seems to be very difficult to conclude whether students of IER get enough guidance from their teachers in the process of argumentation and justification for their reasoning as most of them expected adequate guidance from their teachers.
Social Skills Practiced in Small Group Work
behave politely with each other in a group
stand in different positions with others’ point of view but not with the person
encourage others to contribute
do not interrupt each other and let finish their assigned task
generate alternative ideas and explanations where necessary and accept ideas most relevant one with available data
do the tasks sincerely
praise each other for their contribution
acknowledge others for their contribution
make sure that every individual in the group can get an understanding of the task
think of themselves participating actively but quietly in the group
We also explored what social skills students exercise while working within a group. Students’ responses in this respect are summarized in Table 7.
Data in Table 7 indicate that a majority of students practice acceptable social skills when they are involved in group activities. Students’ practice presented in Table 7 suggests us to argue that these skills can help a group to function as cohesive social units. As well,