Re: Pedagogy

by Nicholas Bowskill -
Number of replies: 0
All good stuff but I think there may be some dangers here in talking about students developing collaborative skills. For me, this suggests that we've done our part and it's down to them to get developing. Or it suggests that these skills are a constant in an ever-changing world. Or that skills for collaboration are free of any consideration of the particular social context. Or that they are culturally blind and the same skills can be specified as somehow generic.

Different structures and activities organise collaboration differently and with different consequences. The skills required and the emphasis and self-control within such diversity means it may not be all down to the student and their notional skill-set. Often we shovel responsibility onto students in such settings and if it is not a success we implicitly suggest they didn't do enough. It may also be that the structure and scheduling and time available and whereabouts and the nature of the activities should carry as much responsibility for shaping collaboration. Also there are human variables in who we collaborate with! We live in a connected world where it is possible to collaborate globally but some cultures have different a pedagogical orientation and changes to this are more than the development of the 'skills.' Aren't they?

All of this leads me to think that throwing the term 'developing collaborative skills' around assumes an awful lot much of which needs careful unpacking. Have we really considered this in depth? Are we really thinking about a western understanding of these notional skills and in what context(s) are we discussing them? I don't have the answers but I certainly have a lot of questions about this stuff.