ERIC Number: ED443405
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-Apr
Academic Help Seeking and Peer Interactions of High School Girls in Computer Science Classes.
Oberman, Paul S.
Through interviews and classroom observations, this study investigated the academic help-seeking and interactions of high school girls with their computer science classmates in both a private school and a public school setting. The study explored five aspects of this help-seeking interaction: (1) females as a gender minority in computer science; (2) determinants of peer interaction; (3) teacher versus peer assistance; (4) factors detracting from willingness to assist peers; and (5) preference for group interaction. A key finding was that physical proximity was an important determinant of help-seeking behaviors in a high school computer lab. Another finding was that girls in the sample often asked their peers for help even when they preferred the teacher's help and believed that the teacher was more knowledgeable. One counter-intuitive finding was that most girls preferred to work individually in a setting in which there was already substantial peer interaction. One implication of this study is that teachers should be wary of applying the general finding that girls prefer group work to every girl in the class and should instead respect the preference of the individual. If the findings are found in other settings, then a recommendation might be that in order to maximize help-seeking, talented programming students should be evenly distributed throughout the classroom. (Contains 33 references.) (Author/MES)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 24-28, 2000).