How do I create a culture of open communication and peer mediation in a project-based learning setting?
When middle school students work in groups, arguments are bound to happen because adolescents are experiencing growth in their communication skills. My study aimed to look at how my 55 seventh grade students at High Tech Middle North County, in Southern California, experienced conflicts in a collaborative project-based environment. Through surveys, video recordings, group observations and student reflections, I was able to understand how students communicated and attempted to resolve conflict within group work in my classroom. These findings highlight variables for successful grouping strategies based on group size and student autonomy. Students gained the ability to understand specific language to negotiate, as well as the role that conflict plays in a project-based learning classroom.