The Dangerous Blog for Grad Students

A How-To Tale

“Consensus and Difference in Collaborative Learning” Response October 14, 2008

Filed under: Response — deduvick @ 9:05 am
Tags: ,

John Trimbur

Trimbur makes some very interesting points in his arguments through this article.  He talks about the collaborative process in the classroom and how many times, this is is taken to mean that the students must come to a consensus.  This could lead to arguments on how the individual is shut down by the group or that a small group working to come to a consensus would completely disregard the larger social forces at work outside of the group.  Really, Trimbur thinks that if we could show students that consensus is a utopian possibility (one that doesn’t have to happen), that students may be more willing to reach a dissensus, and through doing so, they can realize the what “otherness” looks like and how it can work together.  

Though this makes a lot of sense theoretically, it is hard to see how it would actually play out in a classroom.  Say you do have a group project and the students were working together, but couldn’t come up with a common ground on which to stand.  Where would you go from there?  Would each then go on to write their individual piece?  It is fine to “agree to disagree” and I am probably widely missing Trimbur’s point here, but it hard to find the practicality to apply to the classroom setting.  

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