Co-Learning: Modeling Cooperative-Collaborative Learning

Moving the classroom chairs in a circle had radical effects on the way we all looked at our learning: As I told my students, if we transported a warrior from 1,000 years ago to a present-day battlefield, he would die quickly; if we transported a surgeon from 1,000 years ago to a modern operating room, he wouldn’t know what to do; but, if we transported students and a teacher from 1,000 years ago to most contemporary classrooms, everyone would know where to sit, who was in charge, who would speak, and who would remain silent. In a circle, the teacher isn’t privileged as the single most important voice; there is no back row; instead of students and teacher staring at each other, we all become visible to each other. For me and my students, changing the physical arrangement of the classroom was only the first step.

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