The Dangerous Blog for Grad Students

A How-To Tale

“Collaborative Pedagogy” Precis October 14, 2008

Filed under: Precis — deduvick @ 4:59 am
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Rebecca Moore Howard

Collaborative Pedagogy is really just students working together collaboratively to produce knowledge and other, more physical, products such as papers.  Common elements of this pedagogy include small group discussions, peer responses to essays and writing in a group.  At first, there were many objections, as working together was usually registered as “cheating” or “plagiarism.”  But really the students are learning by being able to bounce ideas off of each other and responding to others’ ideas and text in ways that positively affect both parties’ work.  

Instead of teachers using an authoritative power, they might let students work together.  This could include research, especially on projects too large and comprehensive for one student to handle on his/her own.  It also gives students a chance to offer feedback on others’ work, not putting themselves in a position to judge right and wrong, but instead elaborating on how the text made them feel or think.  In this way, they are enacting a very real, and present, audience for their peer, enabling them to work that feedback into the next drafts of their papers.  This pedagogy could also take the form of collaborative writing, with each student pitching in to write the assignment.  This includes all the steps and processes, from research and thesis-building to the final editing and formating of the paper.  Generally, each student should sign off on a finished product to show that they are happy with it.  

Rather than viewing collaboration as cheating, we should look at it as a valuable learning experience, especially as practice for the future work-place and the group work that will certainly take place there.


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