Peer learning in primary school science: theoretical perspectives and implications for classroom practice

Allen Thurston, K. Van de Keere, K. J. Topping, W. Kosack, S. Gatt, J. Marchal, N. Mestdagh, D. Schmeinck, W. Sidor, K. Donnert

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    This article examines cognitive models of peer learning in school and the implications that these models have for the teaching of science in primary schools. The article is a product of the European Commission, Socrates Comenius 2.1 funded project "The Implementation of Scientific Thinking in (Pre) Primary Schools Settings (STIPPS)" project ( It reviews literature and examines the models developed to exemplify Piagetian and Vygotskian cognitive models of peer learning. The role that metacognition and affective development play in the peer learning process is explored. Research regarding the implementation of peer learning in school contexts is reviewed and recommendations are made as to a critical typology for the organisation and structure of peer learning in primary school science are made. The article provides a link between cognitive models of peer learning in primary school science and the classroom implementation of such models. The implications for continuing professional development of teachers in respect of the use of peer learning in science are explored and recommendations in this respect are made.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)477-496
    Number of pages20
    JournalElectronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2007



    • Peer learning
    • Cognitive psychology
    • Science education
    • Primary schools

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