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Oortwijn, Michiel B.; Boekaerts, Monique; Vedder, Paul and Strijbos, Jan-Willem (2008): Helping behaviour during cooperative learning and learning gains. The role of the teacher and of pupils’ prior knowledge and ethnic background. In: Learning and Instruction, Vol. 18, No. 2: pp. 146-159 [PDF, 254kB]


Is helping behaviour (i.e., solicited help and peer tutoring) during cooperative learning (CL) related to subsequent learning gains? And can teachers influence pupils’ helping behaviour? One hundred one 5th grade pupils from multiethnic schools, 10-12 years old, participated in the study. Forty two pupils (31 immigrant) worked in an experimental condition, characterized by the stimulation of solicited high quality help and 59 (24 immigrant) worked in a control condition. It was found that learning gains were predicted positively by pupils’ unsolicited helping behaviour (i.e., peer tutoring) and negatively by solicited help. Furthermore, teachers were able to affect pupils’ low quality solicited help only. Lastly, immigrant pupils used less helping behaviour than local pupils, irrespective of CL setting.

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