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Wellbeing: A Complete Reference Guide, Volume I, Wellbeing in Children and Families by Cary L. Cooper, Susan H. Landry

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12

Classroom Peer Relations as a Context for Social and Scholastic Development

Gary W. Ladd, Becky Kochenderfer-Ladd, and Casey M. Sechler

Arizona State University, U.S.A.

During childhood, children spend much of their time in school where they meet and interact with classmates. Over the course of everyday interactions, children form different types of relationships with classroom peers and these ties have the potential to influence the way children feel and perform in school (Ladd, 2005). For example, classroom peer relationships have been linked to a number of important educational processes and outcomes, including children's classroom participation, school attitudes, social and psychological adjustment, and academic achievement (Hymel, Comfort, Schonert-Reichl, & McDougall, 1996). In fact, some scientists contend that the effects of peers on children's development are unique relative to those of other socializers, including parents, siblings, and teachers (see Ladd, 2005; Wentzel & Looney, 2007).

To be specific, peers appear to play a critical role in the orientations (i.e., behavioral, emotional, and cognitive) that children develop toward school, and these developments may ultimately influence the ways children participate and learn within the school environment. These underlying processes that link peer relationships and students' achievement appear to have both a direct (e.g., modeling academic skills, facilitating intellectual advances) and indirect (e.g., underlying social ...

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