Two Main Categories of Collaboration Essay

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Two Main Categories of Collaboration

The first thing I noticed about the subject of collaboration is that it is huge—there are as many styles, types, methods, rationales, theories, benefits and drawbacks as there are theorists and scholars. Additionally, almost no one appears to agree on even such simple matters as terminology (Is it collaborative writing or collaborative learning? Is it peer response, review, or editing?), let alone on actual application and practice. As Kenneth Bruffee states in “Collaborative Learning and the ‘Conversation of Mankind,’” an essay many supporters and detractors of collaborative writing hearken back to time and time again, his essay “offers no recipes” because there are no recipes for effectively
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in Yancey 38). Whichever mode of collaboration—dialogic or hierarchical—and what every type of collaborative writing is used, the final goal of collaboration is consensus, according to such advocates as Bruffee, Weiner, and Trimbur. Consensus, here, is not meant to imply a dictatorial quashing of alternate views or minority opinions, but Trimbur’s process of “expanding conversation” to reach consensus (439).

How do students work together to reach consensus to complete an assignment? A few brave professors and scholars give an outline of how they use collaborative writing in their classrooms, but always with the caveat that the process must be modified to fit specific classrooms and that the teacher must be open-minded and able to change what isn’t working (Howard 1). As Kenneth Bruffee writes, “Sometimes collaborative learning works beyond my highest expectations. Sometimes it doesn’t work at all” (394). Each class has its own dynamic, pace, and ability. A teacher must be willing to adapt.
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