Collaborate for better learning

I’m reading “Creativity and Collaboration in the Academy” and my initial thought was, “Wow, this is boring!” However, I had to read it as a WAC student and not as someone reading for leisure.

The section explaining the barriers between disciplines that prevent their collaborating grabbed my attention, especially the scepticism of interdisciplinary collaboration and different priorities. This kind of thinking spills over into education–every content area has a place but none of them can touch. On college campuses, every discipline has a building and within those buildings, each department have a set of offices. Discplines in education are individualized and compartmentalized. It’s unsurprising, then, scholars fail to see the value of collaborating.

The document desribed a great solution offered by participants: talk more, explore ideas, and discover where the disciplines meet. Not only does this expand research, generate innovations in technology and science, but it becomes a model for teaching in public schools: bring students’ classes together and see how history connects with science and math and language arts. What they learn in each content and seeing how each content relate to one another soldifies their knowledge and working memory. Anne Balsamo, USC School of Cinematic Arts and the Annenberg School professor, says it best in the document: “It engages multiple intelligences and creates ‘deep knowledge’ (to know something is to ‘know it’ from multiple perspectives).”

Not so boring after all!

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3 Responses to Collaborate for better learning

  1. wacrant2011 says:

    I agree, it is a very important article that more university instructors need to read. It is a shame that the walls of each building that you mentioned really do seem to prevent collaboration. So much more could be accomplished if the walls were not there.

  2. I love the idea of a collaborative space for teachers to hang out and WORK (not a place where they can get coffee and complain), but a real space for thinking and brainstorming and sharing ideas and seeing what each might be doing. Wonder what might happen if students demanded professors work with each other more? Revolution.

  3. scrapscribe says:

    “talk more, explore ideas, and discover where the disciplines meet.talk more, explore ideas, and discover where the disciplines meet.”

    This makes me think of the conversations I rarely hear around the work/copy room in my office on campus. Many times professors from within their own departments talk, but rarely do I see interdepartmental discussion going on. It’s really awesome when I do see it happen though. I mean, we (I’m including myself in this group of lifelong learners here) all love to learn and are educated people; the kinds of discourse that gets kicked up between us is phenomenal! I believe a hurdle though is that there’s not enough opportunities for faculty to mingle outside of the people they see in their own department meetings enough. All the WAC meetings and stuff we’ve been reading in these books is great for that purpose. 🙂

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