School Psychology Review

Peer Relationships and Collaborative Learning as Contexts for Academic Enablers

Kathryn R. Wentzel, Deborah E. Watkins

pp. 366-377

Mini-Series: Academic Enablers to Improve Student Performance: Considerations for Research and Practice

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Abstract. In this article it is argued that peers have the potential to provide contexts for learning that can have a profound impact on the development of students’ academic enablers. Based on work on social support and belongingness, ways in which being accepted by peers can motivate students to engage in learning activities and to display socially appropriate forms of behavior are discussed. Using a Vygotskian perspective, ways are described in which peer collaborative contexts can promote academic engagement as well as provide a supportive structure for the development of specific problem-solving skills. The implications for teachers and practitioners of facilitating positive peer relationships and of using social skills training programs for developing academic enablers are discussed.