Understanding learning at the classroom level

Jeff Northfield, Richard Gunstone

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Our aim in taking the Year 7 class was to increase our understanding of the learning process. In simple terms we were trying to apply our ideas and White's analysis of the term 'understanding' further clarified our purpose. Each target of our understanding has been affected by our experience. Two examples can be used to show how this occurred. Our understanding of the learning approach has been modified by our understanding of students at this level. The effects of peer group interactions have been underestimated as a factor in the learning environment. As a further example we can see that some ways in which schools are organized are not conducive to the implementation of the learning approaches being presented. Schools are organized so that groups of age cohorts can function effectively. The result is that school classrooms are a compromise where competing functions of schooling and the constraints that are operating are 'balanced'. The ideal conditions for our approach to learning could not be present and two visitors from the 'ivory tower' were grateful for the opportunity to better understand a secondary school and a group of its students.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)18-27
    Number of pages10
    JournalResearch in Science Education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1985

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