Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

Research Student: Samyia Ambreen

Photo of Samyia Ambreen

Analyzing the nature of pupils’ interactions in two different fixed and mixed ability groups in a primary classroom

Submission date not yet agreed.

Group work is crucial aspect of teaching now a day in primary schools in UK. Fixed ability and mixed ability groups are two famous kinds of grouping structures mostly applied in the mainstream schools. Children having same attaining levels work together as a group in fixed ability groups. Contrary to it, in mixed ability groups, children having diverse attaining levels are grouped together. Despite sitting at round tables and working in groups do students actually involve collaborative learning?, The study aims to analyze the nature of pupils’ interactions and collaboration in different fixed and mixed ability groups or what happens when students work together as a group?

Taking an ethnographic perspective, I collected data from a primary school while using qualitative methods of participant observations and informal conversational interviews. I selected seven pupils in one primary classroom from three different low, average and high ability groups to observe their interaction towards each other and how the composition of groups either fixed or mixed influence this interaction and students’ perceptions of group work. 


I completed my Master degree in Education at Fatima Jinnah Women University Rawalpindi (Pakistan), where I worked as a teaching assistant in the department of Education for a year. Being a student of education, I experienced working in primary schools and in day care centres for the completion of projects assigned by the university and mainly for volunteering.

Then, I came to this country in 2010 to join my family and to pursue higher education. I continued my journey of being a part of academic community. I worked as a volunteer in primary schools in Leeds and in Bradford to make myself familiar with the primary educational system of this country.  I consider myself very lucky to be accepted as a PhD candidate in school of Education in university of Leeds. Now, I feel I am learning a lot of things academically and enhancing my skills professionally. 

What motivated me to undertake PhD study?

I always remain keen to understand my students with their diverse learning needs and interests. I don’t believe that a universal/same rule can be applied to teach all children in a same manner. If there is any, than you as a teacher should be flexible to make it relevant and supportive for all kids in your class, who are the future builders of the nation.

During my internship services with USAID, I worked in a summer school in the underprivileged area of the capital city Islamabad (Pakistan). That experienced strengthened my belief for providing education on equal basis and removing social injustice faced by children in schools. I, as a teacher feel that in addition to commit professional formalities, class teacher should keep individual differences among students in his/her views. They should strive to bring students ‘perspectives on surface in order to resolve tensions that their students face academically and socially.

My this passion led me to investigate students’ group work in English classrooms, when I found some students feeling pride about their high academic levels and considering themselves superior from their peers who have low attaining levels. My inquest enabled me to think about students with low attaining levels; how they might be experiencing while working together at the same table in their classrooms and how it might be affecting their perceptions about collaborative learning.  I believe, The findings of the study may help policy makers and practitioners to promote group work and also identify hurdles which constraint group work to flourish in its real essence in primary classrooms.

What are my plans once I have completed my PhD?

I would love to do a job through which I can have relationships and links with primary school teachers and children.  I want to enhance my research experience relevant to teaching and learning in educational contexts particularly in primary education.  

© Copyright Leeds 2018