Peer helping and its relationship to adolescent task development

Carol Leggio Carielli, Fordham University

Abstract

This study examined peer helping and its relationship to adolescent task development. The study also explored how being a peer helper affected relationships with members of the school community and how the school leadership supports peer helping.^ The study focused on several key questions: (a) What is the experience of being a peer helper? (b) Does being a peer helper affect identity formation? If so, in what ways? (c) Does being a peer helper influence moral choices? If So, in what ways? (d) Does the helping experience influence career aspirations? If so, in what ways? (e) How has the experience of being a peer helper affected relationships with members of the school community? (f) How does the leadership support the peer helping experience?^ A review of the literature in the areas of peer helping, identity formation, moral development, career development, and diversity provided a theoretical framework for the study.^ The study was conducted using qualitative methodology and examined peer helping expressed through a conflict management program. For the first five questions, Seidman's phenomenology three-interview technique was used with a purposeful sampling of four Black urban female student participants attending a girls Catholic high school. The last question was addressed with the use of an open-ended question interview guide. A principal and teacher were interviewed. Observations and a document review provided additional data.^ Five themes emerged from the data analysis: care and justice, sense of self, cross cultural literacy, missing father, autonomy and independence.^ This study examined the importance of high school peer helping programs in fostering the personal development of adolescents. The findings in the study suggest that school leaders may want to implement a peer helping program. Such a program provides a context for developing students' personal growth. It can empower student peer helpers, school leaders, and the entire school community. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Education, Administration|Education, Guidance and Counseling|Psychology, Developmental

Recommended Citation

Carol Leggio Carielli, "Peer helping and its relationship to adolescent task development" (January 1, 1997). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI9808997.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9808997

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