What are your thoughts about “learning in the collective”?
I have a several thoughts on learning in the collective
1. What basic knowledge do you need to have to problem solve or learn in a collective. I often wonder about letting my third graders direct the learning in the class. Many cannot read and comprehend at a 2nd grade level. How do these children interact Or what my students would do in a collective. If you don’t understand basic skills and concepts will you be able to contribute to a collective? I think about the 9 year old and his interaction with the MIT game we read about. What basic knowledge did he need to interact? How do collectives work for subjects like math and learning addition, subtraction and other operations?
There are many benefits to discussing ideas and getting several different perspectives. I love talking to my cohort at the school to get ideas. One teacher has so much theoretical knowledge another has technology experience. When we have a chance to sit and talk about things Ideas start flying and units start taking shape it is really nice. With this dialogue people need some level of conversational practice or they need to be able to communicate effectively. I have been in enough cohort meetings to know who has conversational skills and who doesn’t. I am sure we all do. An article I read listed 4 characteristics for conversational practices.
- Voicing – speak the truth of your own personal perspective
- Listening – listen without resistance
- Respecting – demonstrate awareness of the impossibility of fully understanding others positions
- Suspending – letting go of assumptions judgments and certainty
These 4 help create and environment that can be productive when learning in a collective.
What does that look like for my third graders? I am struggling to see how a collective will work in my class. I read an article recommended by a classmate on 2nd graders on twitter. Good article but not sure how I can apply that in my class at this time. I know many of you think it is easy but if your students cannot write a sentence with a focus and a complete thought that is tough to communicate with. Also Skype the Author was brought to my attention. I see that being a bit easier to introduce and handle with my class.
In one fo the articles I found the following questions were used as discovery questions. While reading through them I was thinking; how can I apply these questions to my classroom? Many of these derived from a company perspective not a classroom but this is the type of thing I get ideas from.
The parentheses are just a few of my notes and thoughts.
- What is the history of this issue?
- What do we know about he issue/ problem or the reason we are coming together?
- How does it affect people places living things? (science)
- (How does that number effect the others? – math)
- (How does the tense of the word affect the other words in the sentence? LA)
- How are they connected in this system around this issue?
- What visible external factors events or potential developments concern the well being of this network now or in the future?
- What is working and not working in the current situation?
- What other scenarios are possible? (How else could we solve this problem? science, math, Social Studies, LA)
- What do we expect will happen if things stay the same?
Dialogue Questions (these were a bit higher level for my students but thought those that teach older students may be able to use them.)
- How can we make visible the whole system dynamic?
- What hidden or invisible rules, structures, conditions, systemic forces and pressures create the symptoms we see in the current reality?
- What deeper root causes, patterns or assumptions underlie this issue, system, or conflict?
- What are the leverage points for change and transformation?
- What shared meaning or possibilities are unfolding from the common ground and differences?
Littlejohn, A. (2013). Collective Learning Examples. Retrieved from
Labarge, M. (2006), Collective Learning for Co-Creative Engagement. Retrieved from
etools4Education. (2013). Collaborative Learning. Retrieved from