The Use of Group Work During Mathematics Lesson

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THE USE OF GROUP WORK IN IMPROVING
PUPILS’ PARTICIPATION DURING
MATHEMATICS LESSONS

By
Amy Lau Mee Ling
<amylau87@yahoo.com>

ABSTRACT

Group learning is a kind of social interaction where the pupils can learn from their peers. From my experience, pupils seldom involved themselves with each other in learning Mathematics. Therefore, I pursue a research that can help me to increase my Year 3 Kemboja pupils’ involvement in learning Mathematics by doing group work. The respondents consisted of 30 pupils from Year 3 Kemboja where majority of them were low ability pupils. I used field notes to observe the pupils’ behaviour. Besides, I also used interview and questionnaire in order to gain my pupils’ feedback. The result showed that more than half of the class has increased their involvement by doing group work compared to the situation before. Most of the low ability pupils have involved themselves in group work where they learnt to interact with their group members. From my observations, the pupils indicated some interaction among them.

INTRODUCTION

Research context
I am Amy Lau Mee Ling, a trainee teacher who is now studying in Institut Pendidikan Guru Kampus Tun Abdul Razak, Kota Samarahan. I had my third Practicum and Internship in the same school which was Sekolah Kebangsaan Jalan Haji Baki. Since I was given time to do my research proposal, I was required to find out my focus for my research during my practicum period where it lasted for three months.

Reflection from previous teaching and learning
During my third practicum, I was teaching Year 3 Kemboja. When I first entered the class, the pupils were required to do their own exercises individually. Most of them were low ability pupils where they were having a hard time learning on their own. I saw them sat silently and held the pencils on their hands without doing anything. Most of the pupils seldom moved to ask or even their friends who sat beside them. I thought that there was communication problem that caused them to do their works individually and had less participated in my class. Effective communication was important for my pupils to participate in group than individual where I believe that the group can help the pupils to learn best among themselves. Everyone needs communication in their life. When one communicates, it has message value and it influence the others, in turn the others respond to these communications and are thus themselves communicating (Watzlawick as quoted in Jaques, 2000). The pupils cannot learn effectively if they were learning on their own without communicate with others. Figure 1 showed the pupils’ individual learning when they were doing the exercises.

Figure 1: Individual Learning in Year 3 Kemboja class

When I asked my mentor, he told me that only a small number of year 3 Kemboja pupils can be the peer teachers where they can teach other pupils in doing Mathematics and helped them in learning. The selected pupils were cleverer than the other pupils. There were two cleverer girls who were discussed among them or asked the mentor on how to do the exercises. They were faster than the other pupils in completing the exercises. From here, I realized that only few pupils were independent in doing their own exercises. When I first entered the class, only the high ability pupils can answer my question correctly while the others just looked at me without saying anything. When I asked them to do the exercises in Activity Book, I saw that they sat quietly without asking for their friends in discussing the exercises, some were doing alone, some were seemed daydreaming. Without involving themselves to learn with others, they will learn nothing and were not motivated to learn more as they have no interaction with their peers where they can understand more of the content which explained by their peers rather than learning alone.

Research focus
I realized that majority...
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