Effects of the use of peer collaboration in creating a student centered biology classroom
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In this investigation student performance was compared in terms of students working individually and students working in collaborative groups. The areas being looked at were content knowledge learned, content knowledge retained, student motivation and teacher motivation. Preassessments, assessments and postassessments as well as student interviews and student surveys were all used to determine if students performed better or were more motivated when working with collaborative groups. The data was analyzed as a whole group cluster and was also broken down into three performance clusters representing the low, medium and high performing students. Keeping a journal throughout the research process and asking a colleague to observe my attitude and interactions with the students measured teacher motivation. In contrast to what I thought the data would represent, all groups showed greater gains in content learned when working individually. However, when content knowledge retained was analyzed, students retained the knowledge learned better when they worked in collaborative groups. Students were also more motivated and expressed that they preferred to work in collaborative groups more then working individually. As a teacher, I also enjoyed my teaching more and interacted with the students more when the students were working in collaborative groups.