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

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Knowledge has traditionally been understood as cognitive - we gain it by examining the world and taking in the facts. Kenneth Bruffee offers a different model, one that accounts for new ways of thinking about how we learn and do research. He proposes that knowledge is "constructed through negotiation with others" in communities of knowledgeable peers, arguing that this new understanding of learning as an interdependent, collaborative enterprise is a central issue for college and university education today. ...
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Overview

Knowledge has traditionally been understood as cognitive - we gain it by examining the world and taking in the facts. Kenneth Bruffee offers a different model, one that accounts for new ways of thinking about how we learn and do research. He proposes that knowledge is "constructed through negotiation with others" in communities of knowledgeable peers, arguing that this new understanding of learning as an interdependent, collaborative enterprise is a central issue for college and university education today. Collaborative Learning is a book about fundamental change. Bruffee's premise - that learning occurs among persons, not between persons and things - overturns traditional notions about the authority of knowledge, the authority of teachers, and the very nature and authority of colleges and universities. Bruffee begins by discussing the place of collaborative learning in higher education, explaining what it is, how it works, and why. He then examines the implications of the "Kuhnian" understanding of knowledge on which collaborative learning is based, explaining how "nonfoundational social constructionist thought" changes our understanding of education in general. Bruffee argues that changing college and university education depends first on changing how teachers think about knowledge, teaching, and learning. He describes 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. He concludes that this organized practice in working together on intellectual tasks 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 disciplines and the professions do.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
The author English, Brooklyn College, CUNY addresses college and university teachers and administrators. He explains the theory and practice of collaborative learning--students working in small consensus groups to carry out projects, or working together to edit and revise written work, or tutoring one another in various ways--and he discusses the profound implications for academic institutions. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
Journal of Higher Education - Pat Belanoff

Collaborative Learning is an important book. One of my longstanding complaints has been that most of the theories so widely quoted by scholars today have not been examined in light of their pedagogical implications. Bruffee has done that; we all need to do that.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801859731
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 12/14/1998
  • Edition description: 2ND
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 344

Meet the Author

Kenneth A. Bruffee is professor of English and director of the Honors Academy and the Scholars Program at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. He is the author of A Short Course in Writing and Elegiac Romance: Cultural Change and Loss of the Hero in Modern Fiction. He has conducted workshops on collaborative learning at colleges and universities throughout the country.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 Collaboration, Conversation, and Reacculturation 3
2 Consensus Groups: One Kind of Classroom Collaboration 21
3 Writing and Collaboration 53
4 Toward Reconstructing American Classrooms 63
5 Collaborative Learning and Cooperative Learning 80
6 Peer Tutoring and Institutional Change 93
7 Collaborative Learning and Computers 111
8 Education as Conversation 133
9 The Authority of College and University Professors 149
10 Science and Engineering in a Poststructural World 165
11 The Procrustean Bed of Cognitive Thought 179
12 A Plurality of Forces, Desires, and Not Wholly Commensurable Visions 196
13 Reading Literature as Common Property 215
14 A Nonfoundational Curriculum 231
15 Collaborative Learning and the Collaboratively Learned: A Postscript on Graduate Education 246
App. A Classroom and Laboratory Design 259
App. B Research on Collaborative Learning 263
App. C Some Notes on Nesting 267
Notes 273
Glossary 293
Works Cited 299
Index 311
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