Date of Award

1981

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Abstract

The primary purpose of this study was the investigation and analysis of the behavior of small groups of children in a task accomplishment situation. The secondary purpose was to ascertain the effects of a group discussion generated by questions adapted from creative problem solving techniques. A review of literature revealed a lack of research on small groups of children in these areas. Thirty-six small groups of fourth and fifth grade children worked in groups of four on two construction-type tasks, one for pretest and one for posttest. Eighteen of the groups served as experimental groups and participated in the group discussion. The children's conversation was recorded as they worked. Task completion time was noted. Transcripts of the tapes were made and trained evaluators classified the remarks into two categories: Productive and Non-Productive. Intra-evaluator agreement was 94.04 percent. The percentage of Productive Remarks made by the children was computed. An analysis of variance examined the data for significant mean differences on the dependent variables as classified by the independent variables: School, Grade, Treatment, Time, and their various interactions. The Pearson product-moment procedure examined the data for relationships between certain pairs of the dependent variables. The dependent variables were: Productive Remarks, Non-Productive Remarks, Total Remarks, Percent of Productive Remarks, Trips, and Seconds. The group discussion increased productive communication. The fifth grade experimental groups increased the number of remarks and productive remarks. There were no significant changes in behavior in the fifth grade control groups. Both fourth grade groups, experimental and control, increased the number of remarks and productive remarks. The fourth grade control group increased the number of non-productive remarks. There was a very high correlation between the number of remarks and productive remarks and between the task completion time and the number of productive remarks. Groups that participated in the discussion exhibited lower correlations between task completion time and non-productive remarks, and between task completion time and total remarks than groups which did not participate. There were negative correlations between task completion time and percentage of productive remarks and between number of remarks and percentage of productive remarks for the control groups.

Pages

177

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