Peer collaboration and learning in the classroom

Vass, Eva and Littleton, Karen (2010). Peer collaboration and learning in the classroom. In: Littleton, Karen; Wood, Clare and Kleine Staarman, Judith eds. International Handbook of Psychology in Education. Leeds: Emerald, pp. 105–136.


Although recognising the significance of the literature on peer tutoring and cooperative learning, our focus in this chapter is on peer collaboration. In contrast to peer tutoring - which builds on the shared work of pairs with asymmetrical abilities - and peer cooperation - which typically involves the subdivision of tasks for a shared goal, with each participant responsible for one particular aspect of the activity - peer collaboration assumes the relative symmetry of abilities and sharedness in respect of both the process and the products of learning. In collaborative contexts, children bring togehter a range of perspectives or knowledge base arising from the diversity of individual histories, experiences, interests and personalities. But the relationship is conceptualised as being symmetrical, and the aim is to reconcile - share as well as compete - these perspectives to achieve a common learning goal.

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