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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.

Table 7

Social Skills Practiced in Small Group Work

Students-

   %

behave politely with each other in a group

72.28

stand in different positions with others’ point of view but not with the person

69.89

encourage others to contribute

68.07

do not interrupt each other and let finish their assigned task

67.47

generate alternative ideas and explanations where necessary and accept ideas       most relevant one with available data

63.25

do the tasks sincerely

61.45

praise each other for their contribution

59.03

acknowledge others for their contribution

40.96

make sure that every individual in the group can get an understanding of the task

58.43

think of themselves participating actively but quietly in the group

22.89

Social Skills

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,

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