A Group Discussion Report Education Essay

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This group started with a short 'Forming' process, where the members were brought together and introduced to each other. The lack of participation from the other members decreased the potential richness of the discussion that can be considered as a 'Storming' process. The stages of 'Norming' and 'Performing' were reached simultaneously when the two participants overcame the others' absence and worked together as a group. It appears that this group activity experienced a linear trend, much like Tuckman's (1965) model. However, as Smith (2011) described, the stages that the group experienced had undefined boundaries.

At the end of the five-day period, the group was dissolved and passed through an 'Adjourning' stage, as proposed by Tuckman & Jensen (1977).

The group could also be associated with Handy's (1993) cultures, in particular the 'Task Culture'. The members were appointed with the task of working together to learn more about the group and their degree, while being coordinated by a mentor, which is similar to the 'Task Culture'.

Main reasons of interest

The answers showed that both members chose the degree due to their interest in furthering their present careers.

Knowledge, personal qualities and skills brought into the programme

Member A found the skills learnt from the A-levels, as well as teaching experience, useful. Member B has a diploma in teaching Early Years and several years of teaching experience in Early Years and in a language school, which proved useful in tackling the challenges of this programme. Both members are eager and motivated to learn and achieve their maximum potential.

Time spent during the week and anticipated changes

Both members have set aside a substantial amount of time to work on their degree programme. However, member A is expecting to decrease her extra-curricular activities in order to cope with the increasing time-requirements of the course, whilst member B has already done so.

The group at the start of the programme

At the start of the course, the experienced anxieties included expenses, time management, and feedback from tutors.


In conclusion, the group worked as a 'Task Culture'. The group also went through stages similar to those described in the literature (Atherton, 2011; Smith, 2011; Tuckman & Jensen, 1977; Bales, 1965; Tuckman, 1965). From this experience, it is apparent that the two members were dealing with the course in a similar way.

2. 'I have found that my personality suits this programme well, I am a very introvert person I like to do things by myself and this programme allows me to do so. I am very well motivated everything that needs to be done is done because I hate to let things hang over me, I much prefer to finish a job and onto the next thing. If I feel as if I am unsure of anything I know that I can have help if it is necessary and the staff are all very quick to reply.'

'I do have previous knowledge of having to do essays and coursework when I did my A-Levels, so I feel I am not completely clueless when it comes to assessments.'

3. 'I work in a school and although my hours are technically 8:30am till 4pm five days a week they very rarely are those hours, I have to do extra hours to get everything done and do extra curriculum activities with the children.'

'I go to the gym/ swimming three times a week and go out at weekends with friends and family, I have quite a busy lifestyle but I have made time for this course at the evenings and weekends. I am just less lazy at the weekends and wake up the same time I do in the weekdays so that is an extra three hours. At the moment my schedule is working out but I assume later on in the course I will have to hold back on my social activities.'

4. 'At the start of the programme I felt very nervous about starting learning again, not only is it a massive commitment in time but also money. I wasn't definitely sure that this was how I wanted to do my degree. The work aspect was not the difficult part, I like to work on my own but I also need reassurance that what I am doing is correct, so when I started this programme I was a little apprehensive in case I didn't get the support I needed. I knew I would be motivated to do the work because I really want to achieve all I can.'

The three main strategies used to read and understand the text were Scanning, Skimming and SQ3R. First, the document was 'scanned' for key words. Whilst going through the document, key points were identified in various manners, such as words emphasised in bold. Words, such as 'resilience', 'confidence' and 'self-esteem' on page 23 and the section title 'affective outcomes' on page 22 were related to the document title. Even at this early stage, it became apparent that the impacts of school gardening on children were mostly positive. During this stage, short bullet points such as the list found on page 34 were also found to simplify the identification of the goals of the project described in the text.

Following this, the text was read through quickly using the Skimming strategy to understand the gist of the article. When using this, more detail such as the ones found on page 15 were sought after. This example given shows how the interviewers were enthusiastic about the campaign. Some sentences stood out from the rest of the text because of their content, as was the case with 'the range of strategies teachers used were broader than was possible in a classroom and involved children moving about, ...' on page 20. This is similar to the example of Kung Fu lessons (on page 21) since these short phrases highlighted the broad usefulness of the garden, even for subjects which are unrelated to gardening. Quotes from teachers and children were also noticeable and gave a clearer picture of how the people involved reacted to the gardens. Good examples of such quotes include those on page 35 describing children's new-found fondness of vegetables. Furthermore, an increased interest in going to school is described on page 36, 'it makes you feel refreshed... want to come back to school on Monday.'

The main strategy used was SQ3R. As suggested, the text was first 'surveyed' very quickly to identify the key points and general structure. This was obtained from the Executive Summary, Headings and Sub-headings such as the introduction, conclusion and concluding summaries at the end of each section. Short quotes isolated in text boxes, such as: 'I just adore gardening...' on page 23 also helped identify what is being referred to in the particular section of the text. Following this stage, 'questions' were asked regarding the sections and the text in general, such as: 'where was this research carried out?' The answers, in this case, 'Ten schools in the U.K.' (answered from pages 7 - 10) were obtained by re-'reading' the section and 'underlining' the key points and issues relevant to the question asked. The answers to these questions were 'recited and written', and used to construct short notes on the text. Finally, the text was 'reviewed', paying extra attention to headings and underlined material. Through this, the questions asked were answered once again as a form of verification, resulting in a full and comprehensive understanding of the text.


Passy, R., Morris, M., Reed F. (2010). Impact of School Gardening on Learning. Slough: NFER.

4.2 Selecting appropriate sections of a text

The authors states that a 'greater scientific knowledge and understanding... enhanced literacy and numeracy and the use of a wider vocabulary' were observed in students after lessons were conducted in the gardens (Passy, Morris & Reed, 2010: 19).

By using the school gardens, teachers were able 'to identify... outcomes... across a variety of contexts that were not... directly related to the... act of gardening.' (Passy et al., 2010: 20).

The authors also stated that allowing the pupils to grow vegetables tended 'to make them more interested in trying new flavours and recipes.' (Passy et al., 2010: 35).

Working in a garden made the pupils enjoy the lessons, and that a 'source of enjoyment came from being outside...' (Passy et al., 2010: 38).

These quotes were chosen as they describe the positive impacts on children's learning and behaviour brought about by including gardening in their curriculum.


Passy, R., Morris, M., Reed F. (2010). Impact of School Gardening on Learning. Slough: NFER.

4.3 Text Summary

In 2009, the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) was appointed to examine how the Campaign for School Gardening influenced the learning and behaviour of children. A desk study used 6,046 schools from the NFER Register of Schools. Even though the Campaign had not been running for long, it was still possible to discern a trend of an increase in the Royal Horticultural Society benchmark level. Following this, a stratified random sampling approach was used to choose ten schools for two case-visits to identify how school gardening influenced children and to what level it was implemented into the school curriculum.


Passy, R., Morris, M., Reed F. (2010). Impact of School Gardening on Learning. Slough: NFER.

4.4 Identifying the conventions of academic writing

The purpose of the text is to report the influence of school gardens on children and provide a detailed account of its implementation into the curriculum. It was prepared by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) and is intended for the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) in response to the Campaign for school gardening. It is informative in nature, has a detailed methodology and describes its various impacts on children's behaviour and learning. The results are mostly positive and I actually plan to propose this scheme to the head of the school I work in.

Because the text was written for the RHS, the NFER assumes a certain degree of understanding that includes the information on the campaign for school gardening, RHS benchmark levels and gardening techniques.

The text is informative but not technical, creating an easy-going relationship between the writer and the reader. Therefore, the reader is able to interpret the text quickly. The text is presented in the form of an executive report with a consistent style and presentation throughout, which is mostly formal. However, informal quotes such as 'we get to see new people we don't really work with' (Passy, Morris and Reed, 2010: 28), are found throughout and in text boxes.

The style of the text is identified by the choice of vocabulary. The diction is of a generalised standard with very little use of specialised words. The sentence length is inconsistent. The convention for this document is a generalised vocabulary, varying sentence length, formal structure and a specialist style.

The text seems to be an effective tool to deliver the information about the research conducted by NFER, not only to RHS specialised people, but also to others, possibly head teachers interested in the implementation of such a scheme. However, I still feel that certain areas in this study should be improved. The text does not highlight the potential difficulty of controlling the class outside. Some children associate being outside with being in the playground (on break) and therefore may be unruly and disobedient. Other children are not interested in any concept of gardening, increasing the potential of bad behaviour and decreasing learning. The case studies were conducted on a sample of 10 schools out of 6,046. It is based upon the assumption that these schools represented the whole data set. An improvement to the study would be the inclusion of a larger sample.