Collaboration in peer conferencing groups

Elaine Sandra McPhee, University of Pennsylvania


Few studies have investigated what actually occurs in collaborative groups that are engaged in problem-solving tasks that require the use of critical thinking skills. This dissertation reports my observations as a reflective practitioner of five small peer conferencing groups in a ninth grade English classroom as they collaboratively responded to each other's drafts for the purpose of revisions. The groups were composed of Hispanic and Black students who attended an urban vocational-technical high school during the 1991-92 academic year. We worked together for seven months on three projects, writing an autobiographical narrative, conducting an I-Search, and conducting a group interview on a focused topic. In addition to responding to each other's drafts, students, also, monitored individual and group processes that occurred during revision discussions. The research questions that were addressed concerned how collaboration was constructed by the students and teacher and how students used oral and written language when they attempted to work collaboratively in the process of peer conferencing. Methods of data collection included taking field notes, tape recording students in the processes of collaboration, and collecting writing samples. Correlations of oral and written data indicated that there were multiple instances in which students organized tasks by dividing the labor and assuming active roles, negotiated for responses by sharing information and exchanging points of view, and attempted to reach a consensus. The groupmates' comments frequently influenced the writer's revision.

Subject Area

Secondary education|Language arts|Bilingual education|Multicultural education

Recommended Citation

McPhee, Elaine Sandra, "Collaboration in peer conferencing groups" (1994). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9431595.