Emerging Role of Primary Leader in Group Interaction with Mechanics Problems During Upper-level Mechanics Course

  • Published : 2009.05.30


According to social constructivism, group interaction is very important when students construct their knowledge. Many researchers have developed methods of teaching on the basis of group interaction because they recognized the importance of group interaction. There are a large variety of issues related to group interaction including group size, the gender and ability composition of groups, seating arrangements, textbook use, gestures, and role assignments. However, research on group interaction in science learning is still insufficient. In this study, we focused upon the emerging role of the primary leader. We investigated the primary leader's diverse role when students are solving mechanics problems. The participants were one group composed of three students in an upper-level mechanics class. To analyze these students' group interactions, their verbal interactions during meetings were videotaped and audiotaped during one-semester period. We also conducted interviews with the three students and analyzed their reports. As a result, we could find a special student who had the role of primary leader. We could also find the leader's three different leadership roles in different problem situations by inductively; explainer, facilitator and evaluator. Group interaction had different aspect according to the different role of leaders. The group interactions were the most active when the leader played the role of facilitator.


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