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Peer Groups and Children's Development

ISBN: 978-1-4443-1810-4
248 pages
December 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
Peer Groups and Children
Peer Groups and Children’s Development considers the experiences of school-aged children with their peer groups and its implications for their social, personal and intellectual development
  • Focuses on the peer group experiences of children attending school in Western societies, from five years of age through to adolescence
  • Considers peer groups in classrooms, friendships made within and outside of school, and the groups that children participate in for extra-curricular activities
  • Includes a final summary which brings together the significant implications for theory, policy and practice
  • Unique in that no other volume reviews and integrates literature relating to peer groups in both classroom and out-of-class settings
  • Addresses the research interests of psychologists and educationalists, as well as the practical concerns of teachers, parents, counsellors, and policy makers
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Chapter 1: Peer groups in a cultural context.

Introduction.

Cultural dependency.

Theoretical framework.

Piaget and Sullivan.

Group socialization theory.

Peer groups and children’s development.

Overview of contents.

An inter-disciplinary perspective.

Chapter 2: Peer groups and classroom structure.

Introduction.

The peer group structure of classes.

Class size.

Selective assignment.

The structure of classroom subgroups.

Cultural and local influences upon classroom structure.

Size and selectivity.

Competing pressures.

Summary and conclusions.

Chapter 3: Performance and cooperation in classrooms.

Introduction.

Whole-class interaction and the performance mode.

The ubiquitous IRF.

Individual differences in performance roles.

Subgroup interaction and the cooperative mode.

Sitting in groups versus working with groups.

Cooperative learning.

Role differentiation in classroom subgroups.

Summary and conclusions.

Chapter 4: Cooperative interaction and curriculum mastery.

Introduction.

Piagetian perspectives upon cooperative interaction.

Socio-cognitive conflict, transactive dialogue and exploratory talk.

Group work in science.

Resolving differences.

Assistance and cooperative interaction.

Helping and learning.

Assistance versus contrasting.

The social impact of classroom interaction.

Selecting mechanisms.

Social judgments in classrooms.

Conclusions.

Chapter 5: Friendship, status, and centrality.

Introduction.

Children’s friendships.

Membership of friendship groups.

The qualities of friends.

Similarity and complementarity.

Peer status in formal groups.

Socio-metric relations.

Assigning status.

Beyond the classroom.

Status in friendship groups.

Ethnographic approaches.

The concept of centrality.

Conclusions.

Chapter 6: Individual differences in informal experiences.

Introduction.

Varying experiences of status.

Sociability, aggression and withdrawal.

Behavioural characteristics and status.

Behavioural characteristics in context.

Friendship and status compared.

Sociability and friendship.

Aggression, friendship and centrality.

Continuity and change.

Context dependency.

Conclusions.

Chapter 7: Social and personal adjustment.

Introduction.

Peer groups and antisocial behaviour.

Rejection and antisocial behaviour.

Friendship and antisocial behaviour.

Mutual support or bad examples.

Peer groups and personal adjustment.

Status and internalizing difficulties.

Internalizing versus externalizing.

Rejection and neglect.

The protective status of friendship.

Summary and conclusions.

Chapter 8: School performance revisited.

Introduction.

Peer groups and educational failure.

Status and performance.

Status and friendship.

Diverse consequences of friendship.

Friends and academic polarization.

Towards an integrated perspective.

Classroom practice and developmental outcomes.

Chapter 9: Implications for practice and future research.

Summary and introduction.

Remedial work with individuals.

Skills training for at-risk children.

Skills training in context.

Qualified endorsement of the cooperative approach.

Maximizing the ‘promotiveness’ of promotive interaction.

The problem of aggression.

Teacher involvement.

Future research and theoretical development.

Developing the socio-cultural perspective.

Conclusion.

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Christine Howe is Professor of Education at the University of Cambridge, and Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College. Previously she was Professor of Psychology at the University of Strathclyde. Her main research interests are peer interaction and conceptual growth, children's reasoning in mathematics and science, and communication and social relations among children. In addition to publishing seven books and over 100 journal articles, Christine was for many years co-editor of the journal Social Development and has served as Chair of the British Psychological Society's Developmental Section.
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  • Focuses on the peer group experiences of children attending school in Western societies, from five years of age through to adolescence
  • Considers peer groups in classrooms, friendships made within and outside of school, and the groups that children participate in for extra-curricular activities
  • Includes a final summary which brings together the significant implications for theory, policy and practice
  • Unique in that no other volume reviews and integrates literature relating to peer groups in both classroom and out-of-class settings
  • Addresses the research interests of psychologists and educationalists, as well as the practical concerns of teachers, parents, counsellors, and policy makers
See More
"Both undergraduate and graduate students and researchers in education, child
psychology, developmental psychology, and social psychology would find the book, or
particular chapters, useful as they explore the nature of peer groups in educational settings.
Researchers in psychology will become better aware of the many facets of school and
classroom life that should be considered when studying children in the classroom context". (PsycCritiques, 8 December 2010)

"The experiences of schoolchildren with their peer groups and the implications for social, personal and intellectual development are considered here, as Howe reviews and integrates literature relating to classroom and out-of-class settings. The text is intended to address psychologists' and educationalists' research concerns, as well as the practical concerns of teachers, parents, counsellors and policymakers." (Times Higher Education, November 2010)

"This is the book that we were all expecting from Christine Howe: truly interdisciplinary and at the crossroads of psychology and education. It is well-informed – a bridge between the many insights of researchers and educationalists from all over the world. But it also faces difficult issues, and puts them under the scrutiny of experimental and observational evidence without being afraid to go against some established beliefs. Compulsory reading for all those interested in the consequences of children's peer group experience in the classroom."
Professor Anne-Nelly Perret-Clermont, Institute of Psychology and Education, University of Neuchâtel

"Christine Howe's thoroughly researched book offers a thoughtful analysis of the wide literature on children’s experiences of the peer group and its profound influence on their social, emotional and educational development. Practitioners and researchers will be enthralled and inspired by this sensitive and informed account of the social-cultural contexts in which children learn and grow."
Helen Cowie, Research Professor, University of Surrey, UK

"This important book offers an engaging and accessible introduction to the contemporary literature concerning the developmental significance of children's peer groups. It is a distinctive work, not least because it emphasises the role of peers in children's well-being, when so much other work has chosen to focus on their negative impact."
Professor Karen Littleton, The Open University, UK

“This is an excellent and timely book; scholarly and intellectually coherent, yet accessible to practitioners.”
Peter Blatchford, University of London

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