Classroom organization in
primary schools: a story-telling
case study about three
theory-seeking case studies1
and a theory-testing survey
This is an account of three case studies and a 779-teacher survey of primary classroom organization and curriculum management carried out in Nottinghamshire in the 1970s. The case studies were conducted by classroom observation and interview, and the survey by interview. These lead to the following fuzzy generalization: it is likely that the organization of most primary school classrooms can be described in terms of some or all of four major organizational strategies: classwork in one subject, groupwork in one subject, groupwork in several subjects and individual work (with the definitions given in the chapter). The case studies illustrate the author's view that before the Education Reform Act of 1988 and the subsequent and continuing interference of the state in classrooms, there were dedicated and competent teachers fully committed to the needs of the children in their care who were quite able to work effectively without official monitoring and state harassment.
This is an account of studies2 that I carried out in Nottinghamshire in the mid-1970s, now retold as a story to illustrate some of the features of case study which this book is about. I was a tutor in the Department of Education of Trent Polytechnic supervising students in primary schools and, at first not having direct teaching experience in that field, was trying to understand the various patterns of organization that local schools used. I was particularly