Intervening with peer ecology: the impact of cooperative learning on peer acceptance, empathy and pupils' experiences of bullying in school

Faizey, Rachel (2019) Intervening with peer ecology: the impact of cooperative learning on peer acceptance, empathy and pupils' experiences of bullying in school. DAppEdPsy thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Cooperative Learning (CL) is a peer-mediated, instructional intervention with students working together to accomplish shared learning goals (Johnson & Johnson, 2000). The study aimed to build upon existing CL and Peer Acceptance (PA) research and extend this by looking more specifically at whether CL, through the promotion of positive interdependence, could have beneficial outcomes for bullying and associated factors such as empathy.

A quasi-experimental pre-test post-test non-equivalent groups design was used. Data was collected from three classes in two schools (intervention n=78; control n=79). Teachers delivered CL in Year 4/5 classes over an 11-week period, which included one week of social skills training. The Social Inclusion Survey (SIS) was used to measure PA (Fredrickson and Furnham, 1998). Empathy was measured using an adapted questionnaire from the Emotional Literacy Scales (Faupel, 2003) and the My Life in School Checklist was used to measure pupils’ experience of bullying (Arora & Thompson, 1987).

No overall significant differences were found between the intervention and control group for PA in work and play contexts across same and different genders. Although, there were significant differences between the intervention and control group in some individual classes, this represented a decrease in overall PA. There also appeared to be a differential impact, in some contexts, in favour of pupils with initially low levels of PA.

The study highlighted difficulties associated with measuring empathy and provided some justification for further research to explore the links between CL and bullying, with anecdotal staff data suggesting a decrease in bullying and formal data indicating that CL may have at least a stabilising effect on bullying.

Findings varied across individual classes and schools, indicating caution needs to be taken when interpreting results. The study highlights the importance of intervention fidelity, illustrating the complexity involved in understanding implementation aspects, in evidence-informed approaches.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (DAppEdPsy)
Supervisors: Gulliford, Anthea
Keywords: Group work in education; Peer teaching; Peer pressure in children; Bullying in schools
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1024 Teaching
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
Item ID: 57210
Depositing User: Faizey, Rachel
Date Deposited: 20 May 2021 08:27
Last Modified: 20 May 2021 08:30

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