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Examining groupwork in health and physical education: emerging findings from a Vygotskian analysis
Göteborgs universitet, Göteborg, Sweden.
Göteborgs universitet, Göteborg, sweden.
Örebro University, School of Health and Medical Sciences. (SMED, RISPA)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8748-8843
2012 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Introduktion: Group work underpins curricular models such as Teaching Games for Understanding, Sport Education  and Cooperative Learning. Within such models, HPE teachers typically assume ‘facilitator’ roles, dividing their time and attention between groups. In doing so, teachers gain only a partial view of their students’ learning. Very simply, they do not see what is happening when they are not immediately present. It is difficult to frame this as a problem – it appears to be part of the reality of teaching. At the same time, the argument made in this paper is that an understanding of student interactions where the teacher is absent has significant potential for informing pedagogic practice.

Syfte & teoretisk ram: The purpose of this paper is to examine the factors that influence learning when two or more learners are co-constructing meaning in the absence of a teacher.

The paper draws on the work of Lev Vygotsky as well as more recent activity theory. Learning is understood as a social enterprise where the relationship between what an individual can do independently and what s/he can do in collaboration with others is crucial. Vygotsky’s notion of a Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) provides a specific tool for thinking through this relationship. Key tenets include:

- performance of novel tasks is often achieved in collaboration with other people before it is achieved individually.

- potential for learning is bounded (Vygotsky, 1978, p. 208-209). At a given point in time it is not possible for an individual to learn simply anything. As learning occurs and individual performance increases, so does collaborative learning potential.

- learning takes place within the context of dialectical activity. In this respect, all learning is social.

- although individuals take on ‘novice’ and ‘expert’ positions during learning activity, these positions are flexible.

- for learning to take place, novices and experts should influence the group’s activity. 

Metod: Empirical material was produced with eight different HPE classes in years 6-9 (lower and upper secondary schools) in Sweden. Schools were selected in a way that maximized variation.

Observations consisted of three or four video-recorded lessons with each of the eight classes. Two cameras were used: one stationary and the other mobile. Mobile filming focused on different groups working within the classes. Between two and five students were generally in the frame at any one time and filming was done with the intention of capturing sequences where a group of students worked with a specific problem/task. Here, Emerson’s (2004) notion of key incidents was utilized. Due to the proximity of the camera to students, audio material could be obtained and detailed transcripts of speech exchanges were produced.

Resultat: Data suggest that: (1) teachers often define the outcome of groupwork situations with relative precision but pay less attention to process (i.e. how learners will reach the outcome); (2) many groupwork situations do not result in the creation of ZPD’s and hence do not result in learning in a Vygotskian sense; (3) the creation of ZPD’s in HPE are achieved through corporeal and through linguistic strategies - this makes HPE ZPD’s unique from many educational settings.

Diskussion: The emerging results suggest that HPE teachers should pay more attention to how they define and implement groupwork. They should reflect on how they present groupwork tasks to learners and think about the relationship between group process and learning outcome. Teachers should also consider how ‘expertise gradients’ can be exploited and help learners to occupy novice and expert positions in ways that maximize learning. Finally, the results suggest that facilitation of groupwork should account for learners’ physical and linguistic capacities.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012.
National Category
Social Sciences Sport and Fitness Sciences
Research subject
Sports Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-26522OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-26522DiVA, id: diva2:572223
Conference
SVEBIs forskningskonferens, Perspektiv på idrottens prestationssystem – från debut till avslut, Umeå, 14-15 nov, 2012
Available from: 2012-11-27 Created: 2012-11-27 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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Quennerstedt, Mikael

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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