Date of Award

12-1992

Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

First Advisor

Tracy Faulconer

Abstract

Peer group relationships play a major role in an elementary school student's educational experience. This research paper on student peer group interactions is based on the studies done by Jack Wright, Mary Gianmarino, and Harry Parad (1986) whose conceptual framework was build upon the theory of pro-social behavior and person-group similarity as determinants of peer group acceptance. Through qualitative research, using observations, interviews, and collection of artifacts, I found, in my one week observation of twenty-four second-third grade students in a rural Northwest elementary school, that children who are similar to their group both physically and behaviorally are more apt to be accepted than children who posses distinct traits and features from those of the group. Specifically, students demonstrated a preference for like gender interactions as well as group affiliation interactions. Additionally, I found during my research that school staff involvement plays a major role in creating opportunities for quality peer group interaction and acceptance. Through cooperative activities and sociometric methods teachers and administrative personnel forced interactions among mixed genders and students of varying social abilities.

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