An Examination of Intragroup Process in Service-Learning Teams

Randy Fall, Mark Dickerson, Roxanne Helm-Stevens


Small group work performed in the context of university service-learning projects has been seen as a vehicle well-suited to teaching students about group dynamics and how to work on real world problems as members of a team. Little research, however, has focused on the intragroup processes involved in service-learning. The present study was conducted in the context of a service-learning project in which twenty groups of four to five university business school students taught continuation high school students a series of lessons regarding life skills such as goal setting and career readiness. The lesson planning sessions of the university students were video recorded and the videos were then analyzed for patterns of utterances by group participants (questions; instructions; suggestions; etc.) that occurred during the sessions. An iterative process of coding and recoding was employed to capture each behavior for further study. The results suggest that the groups engaged in a surprising level of meaningful collaboration, with leadership shared among group members, and little evidence of individual dominance of groups, or conflict between students.

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International Journal of Contemporary Education

ISSN 2575-3177 (Print)   ISSN 2575-3185 (Online)

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