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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Cultural Differences in Children’s Pair Collaboration: Engaging Fluidly Versus Managing Individual Agendas in a Computer Programming Activity

  • Author(s): Ruvalcaba, Omar
  • Advisor(s): Rogoff, Barbara
  • et al.
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License

This dissertation analyzes cultural aspects of fluidity in children’s collaboration during a computer programming activity. Pairs of 8- to- 11-year-old children, 25 U.S. Mexican-heritage and 25 European American, were invited to work on a computer programming activity. Ten minutes of their collaboration were analyzed for cultural differences in how much time the pairs spent collaborating fluidly or working using individual agendas. Pairs of children from both cultural backgrounds spent substantial time collaborating by building on each other's ideas with proposals. However, U.S. Mexican-heritage pairs spent significantly more time in fluid synchrony, with anticipation of each other’s contributions, compared to European American pairs, who spent more time resisting partner contributions, negotiating whose idea should be used, and bossing their partner to implement their plan. Thus, children of both backgrounds collaborated; however, the Mexican-heritage children collaborated more and their collaboration included a particularly fluid, seamless approach that was rare among European American children.

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