Effective collaboration: deep collaboration as an essential element of the learning process


  • George Head


Collaboration is a frequently used term in current educational debates. However, the nature of collaboration and the possibilities it offers are often assumed among practitioners. Where it is dealt with as problematic, this tends to be at the operational level (Hargreaves 1992; O’Neill 2000). In this paper I argue that the process of collaboration is more complex than it may initially appear, and use Boreham’s (2000) research as a vehicle to explore this complexity. In addition, I use Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development to provide a possible theoretical explanation of why collaboration can be effective. I also argue that collaboration works on two levels in a manner akin to Argyris’ explanation of double-loop learning (Argyris 1992), and offer opportunities for the development of a creative pedagogy. Lastly, I examine the implications of effective collaboration for learners and professionals in communities of support, practice and learning. Introduction The