The influence of group work on students’ science learning in Hong Kong primary schools
Although investigations into group work began in the last century, and general conclusions have been reached about its positive implications for Western classrooms, few studies have been carried out to examine the differences between whole-class teaching and group work in Hong Kong schools. To address this issue, this chapter first examines the empirical evidence related to the emergence of group work in Western countries (i.e., the United States and the United Kingdom), before turning attention to the practical significance of peer collaboration in students’ learning of science in Hong Kong. Based on the data collected from a qualitative study conducted in two primary schools, the effects of group work on students’ joint construction of conceptual knowledge are discussed. The findings illustrate that group work was more effective than whole-class instruction in creating an interactive atmosphere in classrooms, whereby students became more eager to share their ideas and thus achieved a better understanding of abstract scientific concepts.