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Hackney College: Group Problem Solving

Principal focus of the project

This project's main focus was the integratiom of a single SEND learner with significant behaviour problems in a mainstream class and use of a Group Problem Solving protocol based on primary school circle time. The  protocol was designed  to enable the focus student and his peers to take ownership of resolving their collective learning challenges. In this way the college was able to address a mismatch between the focus  student's academic abilities and those of his initial peers and enable him to address dysfunctional behaviours arising from a) anxiety in the face of a new, more academically challenging classroom setting and b) feelings arising form continuing home probelms.  Group Problem Solving sessions and techniques were used to promote positive relationships, help all learners to develop self-esteem, and develop collaborative solutions to leanring challenges whilst promoting social and emotional development.

Areas of learning
What is this about and what were the main findings?

The use of Group Problem Solving had positive impacts. The protocol enabled them to discuss issues that would not have been covered in curriculum time, for example to  self-generate the idea to form a literacy study group to fulfil a need for more literacy work (although the subject learner did not participate in that). it also enabled them to develop stratgies to address the previsouly undisclosed special needs of another group member and to involve the focus student in offering collective support. An educational psychologist commented that the group took ownership of their direction through exploring similarities and differences between group members. The focus  learner's peers became more understanding of his  difficulties and he became more aware of their needs, increasing the opportunities for positive interaction between peers. Data was gathered from interviews/surveys and observation of practice. 

Resource form
Number of participants who worked with the project
Name(s) of authors

Hackney Community College

Name of associate programmes



A case study exploring innovative approaches to behaviour management for a SEND learner and their peers, contributing to raised expectations when transitioning to a new educational institution.

Resource Type: Case study
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