Instruction Based on Peer Interactions

Authored by: Kathryn R. Wentzel , Deborah E. Watkins

Handbook of Research on Learning and Instruction

Print publication date:  December  2010
Online publication date:  February  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415804608
eBook ISBN: 9780203839089
Adobe ISBN: 9781136882159


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Peers are of central importance to children throughout childhood and adolescence. They provide companionship and entertainment, help in solving problems, personal validation, and emotional support. In turn, children who engage in positive activities with peers also tend to experience levels of emotional well-being, positive beliefs about the self, and values for prosocial forms of behavior and social interaction that are stronger and more adaptive than children who do not (see Rubin, Bukowski, & Parker, 2006). In addition, children who enjoy positive interactions and relationships with their peers also tend to be engaged in and even excel at academic tasks more than those who experience problems with peers (see Wentzel, 2003). For example, numerous studies have documented that children’s interactions and personal relationships with peers are associated with a range of academically-related outcomes at school, including goals and values, skills related to self-regulation and problem-solving, grades, and test scores (Wentzel, 2005).

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