The rationale for group investigation as an effective way of learning

Wai Ling Cecilia CHU

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Groups investigation is a form of cooperative learning. This way of learning is based on the philosophy that learning is a democratic process. In Democracy and Education (1916), Dewey argues that a student should participate in the development of the social system, and through experience, gradually learn how to apply the scientific method to improve human society. (p. 14) to follow this line of thought, students should learn through interaction with one another in a learning entity, e.g., school, as learning is not an individual business but a process that is associated with the improvement of the well-being of the society. In terms of instructional models, some of the tasks for classroom groups in this democrative process are ‘to conduct scientific inquiry into the nature of social life and processes’, ‘engage in solving a social or interpersonal problem’ and ‘provide an experience-based learning situation’/ (Joyce, Weil and Showers, 1992) How do students perceive group investigation as a way of learning? In the summative evaluations I administered towards the end of two modules I taught to the same class of teacher-trainees, it is noticed that these students enjoyed and opted for more group investigation. A follow-up questionnaire on their ways of learning further reveals that their past learning experiences were mainly teacher-centred and the environment was not supportive to independent learning. It is meaningful to find out why the students who had been baptized in a teacher-dominated climate in the secondary level, which they confessed to be the stage when their normal ways of learning were formed, would choose to have more opportunities of learning in groups and accepting more autonomy in their learning. In this paper, I would try to identify the reasons for group investigation as an effective way of learning for students by referring to an introspective analysis of two programmes implemented in my work place at different times of the year.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1995


Tang Chu, W. L. (1995, November). The rationale for group investigation as an effective way of learning. Paper presented at the Hong Kong Educational Research Association 12th Annual Conference: Rethinking Education: Reflective Practice, Professionalism and Postmodernization, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.


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