Collaborative Learning: Higher Education, Interdependence, and the Authority of Knowledge

Instructional Methods  [ Browse Items ]
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In COLLABORATIVE LEARNING, Kenneth Bruffee advocates a far-reaching change in the relations we assume between college and university professors and their students, between the learned and the learning. He argues that the nature and source of the authority of college and university professors is the central issue in college and university education in our time, and that if college and university professors continue to teach exclusively in the stand-up-and-tell-'em way, their students will miss the opportunity to learn mature, effective interdependence-and this, Bruffee maintains, is the most important lesson we should expect students to learn. The book makes three related points. First, we should begin thinking about colleges and universities, and they should begin thinking about themselves, not as stores of information but as institutions of reacculturation. Second, we should think of college and university professors not as purveyors of information but as agents of cultural change who foster reacculturation by marshaling interdependence among student pers. And third, colleges and universities should revise longstanding assumptions about the nature and authority of knowledge and about classroom authority. To accomplish this, the author maintains, both college students and their professors must learn collaboratively. Describing the practical value of the activities encouraged by a collaborative approach-students working in consensus groups and research teams, tutoring peers, and helping each other with editing and revision-Bruffee concludes that, in the short run, collaborative learning helps students learn better-more thoroughly, more deeply, more efficiently-than learning alone. In the long run, collaborative learning is the best possible preparation for the real world, as students look beyond the authority of teachers, practice the craft of interdependence, and construct knowledge in the very way that academic discip - from Amzon 
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