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Peer Collaboration: Creating a Peer Program in Your School
Building the Foundation for Authentic Relationships and an Equitable Learning Environment.
Peer Collaboration cultivates healthy, enriching relationships as students are trained to support one another academically, socially and emotionally through positive role modeling. Peer Collaboration creates authentic communities of support which embrace students with needs and special talents, and include teachers in both regular education and specialized instruction.
Most of the educational research surrounding Peer Collaboration or peer mediation has focused on the effect of Peer Collaboration on special education students. Other than student attitudes and/or tolerance of special needs students, there is little research on how typical peers benefit from Peer Collaboration. To that end, in 2012 we conducted a research project to answer the following question:
To what extent do general education students gain 21st century skills from peer collaborating with special education and typically developing students?
The question is important because it is an attempt to measure actual skills (related to employability, career preparedness, and vocational readiness) acquired by Peer Collaboration.
Our research indicated that out of the 23 21st Century Skills measured, students who were involved in the Peer Collaboration program, made gains in 11 of the 23 21st Century Skills as compared to same age students who were not involved in the program.
Peer Collaborator's GAINS
Student prompts others to participate
Student conducts him/herself in a respectable, professional manner
Student provides assistance to others without doing it for them
Student connects ideas during classroom discussions
Student is comfortable interacting with the differences of others (i.e., cultural, social, political, gender, religious, ability level, etc.)
*Student uses feedback to guide future actions
Student helps motivate others (i.e., gives positive feedback to others)
Student actively listens to adult instruction (i.e., nodding, eye contact, asking questions)
Student is willing to listen to constructive criticism
Student completes and submits assignments on time
* statistical significance