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Comparing alternate teaching styles to teach computing skills to girls in their English classes

journal contribution
posted on 2001-05-01, 00:00 authored by Leah Bromfield, Valerie Clarke, N Lynch
Low female participation rates in computing are a current concern of the education sector. To address this problem an intervention was developed — computing skills were introduced to girls in their English classes using three different teaching styles: peer tutoring, cross-age tutoring and teacher instruction (control). The sample comprised 136 girls from Years 8 and 10 from a single-sex government school. A pre-test post-test quantitative design was used. To describe the students perspectives, qualitative data were collected from six focus groups conducted with 8–10 students — one from each of the six classes. It was predicted that cross-age tutoring would yield more positive effects than peer tutoring which, in turn, would yield more positive effects than traditional teacher instruction as assessed by achievement on class tasks and attitudes towards computing. The hypothesis was not supported by the quantitative analysis, however in the qualitative data cross-age tutoring was appraised more favourably than peer tutoring or teacher instruction. The latter was the least preferred condition due to: (1) inefficiency; (2) difficulty understanding teachers' explanations; and (3) lack of teacher knowledge. Problems with the implementation of the intervention identified in the focus groups were teacher differences, system failures, missed classes, lack of communication, and selection of computing activities. Practical suggestions were provided relevant to the introduction of cross-age tutoring and the use of computers within secondary level English classes.

History

Journal

Computers and education

Volume

36

Issue

4

Pagination

285 - 297

Publisher

Pergamon Press

Location

New York, N.Y.

ISSN

0360-1315

eISSN

1873-782X

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2001, Elsevier Science Ltd.