Development in children as they join an innovative school emphasizing collaborative
learning (analyzing data). Together with B. Rogoff.
We have studied the socio-cognitive processes of children and adults in different
educational institutions in several projects. In the US school reform movement, there is a
call to use children's collaboration to facilitate instruction in the classroom. One of
the underlining assumptions of this call is that adults, in general, and the teacher,
specifically, know what is involved in children's collaborative decision making and how to
facilitate such productive collaboration. The purpose of my current postdoctoral research
is to examine different types of collaboration naturally occurring in a US innovative
public elementary school. In this school, children work in small groups under the guidance
of a parent volunteer or the teacher. The study involves mainly cross- sectional
comparisons of how children worked together across K-6 grade levels in the innovative
school. The data consisted of more than 100 videotaped observations of white middle-class
children working in small groups of two to six children involving or not involving parent
volunteers and teachers. The students worked for about a month on the theme
"Inventors and Inventions" developed across grades (kindergarten through sixth)
by the program members. The study examines evidence of children's collaboration -- which
seems to be necessary for successful functioning in a collaborative classroom environment,
and may derive from participation in such settings. The preliminary results seem to show
that children in older grades (4-6) demonstrated many more cases of intensive
collaboration than children in younger grades (K-3). It seems that forms of collaboration
were different: in the older grades children's collaboration involved systematic,
topic-centered transition from one topic of discussion to another, while in the younger
grades children's collaboration involved drifting and jumping from one topic to another as
demanded by the situation. It also appears that despite the fact that both types of
collaboration were productive, adults in the classroom felt more comfortable and were more
supportive with topic-centered collaboration.
Cultural development of children, families, teachers and a cooperative educational
institution (collecting data). Together with B. Rogoff and C. White.
This study is embedded in a larger longitudinal project research focusing on how
personal development contributes to cultural change of the institution and its philosophy
as the individuals themselves develop. Analysis of data includes interdisciplinary methods
of developmental psychology, educational anthropology, and sociology, involving archival
work, ethnographic observations, participant interviews, videotaping, and surveys.
Facilitating children's collaboration in the classroom by discussing with the children
videotapes of their working together (analyzing data). Together with O. Jump.
Together with Otak Jump, a teacher of an innovative public elementary school in Northern
California, we currently analyzing videotaped observations and ethnographic notes about
the teacher's efforts to introduce a new curriculum of explicit learning how to
collaborate in small groups in the classroom for children of 4/5 blended grade. The
project involves videotaping children's working together in small groups, demonstrating
and discussion with the children fragments of smooth and problematic collaboration, and
teacher's and children's attempts to develop a new language addressing children's ways of
working together. The focus of the study will be on changes in practices and attitudes of
the children and the teacher with collecting background information on school and parents.