Enhancing the quality of learning: What are the benefits of a mixed age collaborative approach to creative narrative writing?
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Roberts, J. & Eady, S. (2012) Enhancing the quality of learning: What are the benefits of a mixed age collaborative approach to creative narrative writing? Education 3-13, 40 (2), pp. 205-216.
This study, based in a small rural school, explores the opportunities provided by collaborative learning with a mixed aged class of 7–11 year olds (Year 3–Year 6). This paper specifically focuses on those children aged 7–8 years (Year 3) and how they worked on improving the quality of their writing through optional and directed collaborative group work. Data were collected predominantly through a series of observations and interviews. The findings suggest that optional collaboration does not always lead to shared ideas or improvements in the quality of writing. However, directed collaboration and structured conferencing can enable powerful learning to take place within a group context. The study concludes that with skilled adult support children are not only ‘learners’ but can also become ‘peer teachers’ within a supportive context.