Isabelle Moore is a Middle School French teacher. She conducted her action research project in 2016/2017.
What question did your action research explore?
Can teaching the boys about “mind patterns” – the different ways that people learn and communicate – from Collaborative Intelligence by Dawna Markova PhD, affect their experiences working in groups.
What were your key findings?
Making the boys aware of how they think differently from others, and then learning to be responsible and accountable for how they use that awareness, was fascinating to witness.
The boys increased their ability to self-reflect and take responsibility for their own actions.
I found that boys learned to trust each other and split up their work more evenly. One boy said, “We know each other’s mind patterns so we used their weaknesses and their strengths to split up the work equally.” This theme of trust continued with another boy as he reflected on being able to “trust my group members because their strengths are what they are going to be working on.”
Finally, I found that they were better able to communicate and learn from each other. The boys clearly believed that using mind patterns to plan their projects allowed them to better communicate and understand each other. When asked how he would have resolved a problem with his group member before understanding mind patterns, one boy reflected, “He probably would have gotten even more mad at me. And we wouldn’t have gotten our work done.” Another boy commented, “We could understand that not everyone is perfect and they can’t do everything without getting distracted.” This idea of getting along better was present among many of the groups.
How have these findings influenced the teaching and learning in your classroom?
My findings have influenced the way I support boys when they study, how I make up groups for group work and how much time we spend working through disagreements. I was more surprised by how the boys were able to take on their own conflict management when they had a better understanding of themselves and others. This gave them the opportunity to take ownership for their relationships and benefit from each other's expertise.
What new ideas did the research uncover that you would be interested to explore in the future?
I would love to see how the application of this research better helps boys study. While the focus of this study was to help them work together, one of the side benefits that I did not expect was how they applied this knowledge to their study habits and how they learn in a classroom.