Thesis Title

Teacher-led VS. Peer-led: Discovering a Format for Engaging Literature Discussion In a Seventh Grade Classroom

Graduation Date

Spring 2002

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name


Program Director

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD


Classroom literature discussions have a broad range of styles and characteristics. This study explored whether seventh grade students in a suburban middle school were more engaged in literature class when discussions were peer-led or when discussions were teacher-led. Observations, lasting two weeks, were conducted of two seventh grade classes, a first period and third period class. The teacher led the literature discussion during the first week and students led the literature discussion the next week. Twenty students, ten from each class, were then randomly chosen to complete open-ended survey questions about their preferences. Engagement was determined by the complexity of student responses to discussion topics, the number and frequency of high complexity responses shared within each discussion, and by the personal opinions students shared in the surveys. Results indicated that allowing students to take an active approach when discussing literature by leading their own discussions was more effective in engaging students than when teachers lead the literature discussions. Students showed interest in both types of literature discussions, but because fewer students verbalized high complexity responses during teacher-led discussions than the number of students who voiced high complexity responses during the peer-led discussion, true engagement occurred more often when students directed the discussion. Survey responses also indicated student preference for peer-led discussion; overall students preferred interacting with their peer group; they also indicated that they perceived themselves to interact more frequently, by voicing their personal opinions and listening more attentively, during peer-led discussions.

This document is currently not available here.