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ERIC Number: ED345290
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Pages: 17
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Peer Groups in Evolution: Inventing Classroom Communities.
Sommers, Elizabeth
It can be very difficult for writers to invent classroom communities, to share their writing; it can be especially difficult for anxious young writers who have never before worked in peer groups. Student participation is largely influenced by gender roles shaped by years of socialization. Teachers should not be startled by less female participation, a reflection of larger cultural patterns, since such non-participation conforms to numerous research studies. Many researchers have demonstrated differences between men's talk and women's talk differences that bear on attempts to create peer group situations in the classroom. Observation showed that two distinct types of all-female groups evolved in a year-long composition class: communal groups and compliant groups. Communal groups are talkative, encouraging, attentive, and respectful of each other's right to speak. They tend to take many risks and seem to have more authority and control over their learning processes. Compliant groups show some of the same characteristics, but they were placed together by the teacher, they have much shorter sessions, and the response rate is much lower. The women in the compliant groups remain reticent, offer comparatively little substantive feedback, and do not seem to see themselves as authority figures. Changing from a teacher-centered to a student-centered approach is not enough. Individuals in groups need to be willing to communicate what they know, to go beyond prescribed gender roles, and to take risks. Women in particular may need help moving from being "good" to being authentic. Learning how to facilitate this process is one of the most important things writing teachers can do. (Fifteen references are attached.) (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Communication Behavior
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (43rd, Cincinnati, OH, March 19-21, 1992).