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Based on Vygotsky’s theory of cognitive development and its concept of zone of proximal development, this study examined how the skill level of a peer tutor affects the achievement motivation of novice learners and their performance in a swimming task. Gender differences were also explored. High school students (N = 48) were assigned in a 2 × 3 (Gender × Tutor skill level: novice vs. intermediate vs. skilled) factorial design. Participants were invited to observe a same-sex peer tutor, complete a self-efficacy questionnaire, train with their tutor for 8 minutes, and complete a goal involvement questionnaire. Results demonstrated that skilled tutors yielded the best swimming skills for boys, whereas skilled and intermediate tutors yielded better skills than did novice tutors for girls. The skilled tutor group led to higher self-efficacy for improvement and gave more demonstrations and verbal information than did the novice group. Male tutees adopted higher ego involvement goals and trained more physically, whereas female tutees adopted higher learning goals and received more demonstrations and verbal instructions. Results are discussed in relation to educational studies conducted in a Vygotskian perspective.
F. d’Arripe-Longueville*, C. Gernigon*, and M-L. Huet: INSEP, Dept. of Sport Sciences, 75012 Paris, France; M. Cadopi: EA2991 Sport, Performance and Health, Univ. of Montpellier I, Montpellier, France; F. Winnykamen: Dept. of Developmental Psychology, Univ. of Paris V, Paris, France. (*See Acknowledgments for updated addresses)