Peer Learning and Class Community in a Social Distancing Classroom
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This is a classroom action research study with input and collaboration from the teaching team and divisional principal at a private school. The focus of this study is on how students responded to the COVID restrictions of social distancing in the classroom and how it affected classroom community and peer learning. The participants in this study is a class of 20 Kindergarten students. These students were excited to be back in school and eager to connect and learn. There are two sets of twins in this class as well as 5 ELL students. The study focused on three action research cycles that consisted of the baseline COVID restrictions, quarantine and distance learning, and the new phase of loosen COVID restrictions. Data collected for this research study was in the form of observation notes, anecdotal notes, parent surveys, and feedback from the teaching team and divisional principal. Through the action research cycles, it was observed that the students had a difficult time connecting to each other in class while under the first phase of COVID restrictions. Peer learning was minimal. Distance learning also became a difficult environment for students to engage in the learning process. With the recent loosening of COVID restrictions, students made important academic and social connections that resulted in a more positive learning environment.