Collective Behaviour - Summer Seminar Series 2022

Understanding and shaping group dynamics in heterogeneous classrooms

Jeanine Grütter, Department of Education, University of Konstanz

This event is part of an event series „CASCB Seminar Series Summer 2022“.

Positive group dynamics are fundamental for children’s healthy development. Feeling accepted and experiencing friendship are important predictors of children’s learning, mental health and identity development. However, many children experience discrimination due to their social group membership (e.g., immigrants or students with disabilities). Heterogenous classrooms provide important opportunities for intergroup contact and social learning; however, on the flip-side, children from social minority groups are at an even higher risk for social exclusion. While teachers play an important role for peer group dynamics, little is known how they can positively shape children’s social relations.

In my talk, I will present research on the development of peer relations among children and adolescents and thereby highlight the role of teachers for their students’ social and moral competencies and social inclusion. Moreover, I will present first evidence from a program that my group designed for schools with the aim to promote friendships among students with different ability levels, and different social and ethnic backgrounds.

Jeanine Grütter is a Professor of Education at the University of Konstanz. Before joining the University of Konstanz, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development at the University of Zurich. After completing her PhD in psychology at the University of Zurich, in collaboration with the Teacher University Lucerne, she was awarded a fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation to conduct her independent research on children’s and adolescents reasoning about social inequalities and social change in Nepal. As part of this project, Jeanine Grütter has been a postdoctoral research associate at Tribhuvan University in Nepal and the Lab for Social and Moral Development at the University of Maryland in the U.S.A. Jeanine Grütter’s research interests are the development of group dynamics, with a focus on stereotypes and prejudice and their correlation with social and moral development from early childhood to young adulthood. In addition, she is involved in the design of interventions to enhance inclusive peer attitudes in schools.

Datum: 2022-05-30