Collaboration & Reasoning

How do children develop reasoning and social skills in collaborative learning activities? With this big question in mind, we have designed and conducted research studies in both China and the U.S. to examine how children collaborate and learn in the open-format, peer-led collaborative discussions and problem solving activities. We study the processes of learning and development by considering the impact of classroom participant structures, peer relationships, and teachers' instructional approaches.

Culturally Responsive Approach to

Through external grants funded by the National Institutes of Health, our research team has been collaborating with the school, tribal, and community representatives from the Flathead Reservation, to develop a culturally inclusive social-emotional learning (SEL) program for Native American and Alaska Native youth. Specifically, we ask the questions of: What are the unique psychological and cultural needs of the Native children? How can we support their needs through a multi-layer, strength-based model to nurture their social and emotional development?

Engage Teachers in Dialogic Teaching

We work with teachers in design-based research to examine how educators can be effectively supported to scaffold children's collaborative discussions. In particular, by examining teachers' learning trajectories, we aim to understand factors that contribute to the challenges that teachers encounter in employing dialogic teaching in their classrooms, and how as researchers, we can best support teachers in overcoming the challenges to engage children in collaborative discussions on a regular base.