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Does working in asymmetrical pairs in class lead to better results than working individually?: A study of an 8th grade English class in Sweden
Halmstad University, School of Humanities (HUM).
2011 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

According to former brain surgeon, Nils Simonson, Swedish schools are wasting their students’ time by using teaching methods that lead to poor memorization, namely reading and listening as separate activities. He instead suggests that the students use methods that lead to better memorization. The study described in this rendering focuses on two of Simonson’s suggestions – discussion and peer teaching.

This work accounts for a study, in which Swedish 8 thgrade English students were working in asymmetrical pairs, i.e. pairs composed by students on different levels of achievement. The study was aimed at finding an answer to the thesis question of whether working in asymmetrical pairs led to a larger or smaller improvement, on a final grammar test, than the improvement of the rest of the students in the class, who were working individually, and thus formed a control group for the study.

The result was that the students in three out of four asymmetrical pairs improved their results more than the control group. Since one of the students in the fourth asymmetrical pair had been absent, they had only been working together during half the period of the study. This probably explains why their improvement was only on the same level as the improvement of the students in the control group. The answer to the thesis question is therefore that working in asymmetrical pairs led to better results on the final grammar test, than working individually. If the results of the participating students are divided into different groups, we also find that the students with the lowest results on the initial grammar test were those who improved their results the most, which could possibly be explained by a better room for improvement.

Due to the short time range of the study, it was limited to one class, and the generalizability of the study is hence very low. However, it could potentially serve as a pilot study for larger research projects. My main idea of future research is thus to expand the study to a larger number of students. It would also be interesting to incorporate students on all levels of achievement into a similar research project.

This work incorporates predominant teaching science theory, such as socio-cultural theories, and influential second language acquisition theory, such as the input hypothesis, the output hypothesis and focus on form instruction.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 31 p.
Keyword [en]
asymmetrical pairs, peer teaching, second language acquisition, teaching science, socio-cultural theories
National Category
Pedagogy Pedagogical Work Didactics Specific Languages Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-15866OAI: diva2:432580
Subject / course
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2011-08-10 Created: 2011-08-04 Last updated: 2011-08-10Bibliographically approved

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