Tasks and Social Relationships in Classrooms: A study of instructional organisation and its consequences by Steven T. Bossert
Moving beyond the assumption that a teacher's personality or expectations are the primary determinants of classroom behaviour to the more complex sociological perspective of group organisation and social relationships, Steven Bossert provides a glimpse inside the 'black box' of the classroom, as well as clear methodological and conceptual implications for future research and policy making. Although common sense tells us that schooling involves social interaction, most studies have ignored the nature of the classroom as a group and have failed to illuminate the link between learning processes and social relationships. The behaviour of each class member must be seen in relation to the overall pattern of teacher and pupil interactions within the group. When the author explores the implications of classroom organisation for group relations, the importance of the structure of resources, roles, expectations, values and verbal exchanges in the school environment fades in relation to that of the structure of tasks, task evaluation systems and supervision. The social organisation of the classroom thus emerges as more significant than individual relationships in understanding behaviour.