Cognitive Individualism vs Collaborative Intelectual Work

The study described here studied perspectives of mid-career teachers from minority and Anglo backgrounds collaborative intellectual work and examined the ideologies underlying these perspectives. The analysis focused on the teachers’dialogical interaction in a small group (4 teachers) and a large group (28 teachers) in relation to immediate and broader societal contexts and program characteristics. Transcriptions of the teachers’dialogues, dialogue journals, interviews, and final presentations constituted the corpus of discourse. Five perspectives on peer-group-work were identified as the basis for collaborative intellectual work:(1) pragmatic goal-oriented;(2)socio-psychological support;(3) responsive;(4) interpretive community; and (5) vehicle for social change. The group perspective was found to be supportive and responsive, although pervaded by an individualistic and instrumental way of thinking about the individual-group relationship. In this view, knowing, learning, and professional development are essentially individualized processes–“cognitive individualism.” Cognitive individualism, held to be the fundamental premise of a capitalist society, represents an aculturally endorsed mode of thought and action. The results of this study have implications for education in general and teacher education in particular, especially with regard to the team or group approaches to teaching and learning. (Contains 37 references.)(CR).


About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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