Small-group discussion in physics: Peer interaction modes in pairs and fours
Article first published online: 7 DEC 1998
Copyright © 1996 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Journal of Research in Science Teaching
Volume 33, Issue 10, pages 1099–1114, December 1996
How to Cite
Alexopoulou, E. and Driver, R. (1996), Small-group discussion in physics: Peer interaction modes in pairs and fours. J. Res. Sci. Teach., 33: 1099–1114. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2736(199612)33:10<1099::AID-TEA4>3.0.CO;2-N
- Issue published online: 7 DEC 1998
- Article first published online: 7 DEC 1998
- Manuscript Accepted: 20 JUN 1996
- Manuscript Revised: 12 MAR 1996
- Manuscript Received: 28 JUL 1994
The importance of group discussion in facilitating learning in science is widely acknowledged. At the same time, it is recognized that in the social context of small groups, peers' discussion processes and their subsequent learning are influenced by factors other than students' conceptual understanding. Focusing on the social processes of knowledge construction in group settings, this article investigates the ways Greek secondary school students interacted in pairs and fours while discussing and attempting to explain simple physical phenomena. The study showed that students progressed significantly more in their physics reasoning after participation in fours than pairs. Moreover, the analysis of discourse in the different groupings suggested that the differences in progress were related to the more constrained modes of interaction of pairs. © 1996 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.