Theses Doctoral

Metacognitive dimensions of adolescents' intellectual collaboration

Zillmer, Nicole Suzanne

Children's interaction with peers supports cognitive development in numerous ways. The claim investigated in the present study is that these benefits include support at a metacognitive level that children provide one another, specifically in the form of meta-level speech aimed at regulating the other's behavior. This proposition originates in Vygotsky's views of a bi-directional zone of proximal development between peers with resulting transfer from inter-mental to intra-mental planes. Sixty-four 7th graders participated in the study. Students who shared a position on a social issue engaged in electronic dialogs with a succession of pairs who held an opposing position. In one condition (Stay), students worked with the identical same-side partner over six twice-weekly dialog sessions. In the other condition (Switch), students worked with a new same-side partner at each session. Students experienced both conditions, half of them first the Stay condition and then, discussing a new topic, the Switch condition. Condition order was reversed for the other half of participants. Students engaged in more frequent meta-talk in the Stay than the Switch condition; Stay conversations contained more frequent regulatory utterances than Switch conversations and a greater proportion of planning statements. Electronic dialogs produced in the Stay condition contained a higher proportion of meta-talk than those produced in the Switch condition; however, differences favoring the Stay condition in direct counterargument use were found at only one of two data collection points. On the whole, differences suggest that collaborators scaffolded one another’s meta-level development through regulatory conversation that evolved over time as collaborators developed their relationships, and that, for Stay pairs, this evolving shared regulatory talk extended to the electronic discourse. There was no consistent evidence, however, that this success extended to argument strategies on the discourse task.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Cognitive Studies in Education
Thesis Advisors
Kuhn, Deanna
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
February 10, 2016