ERIC Number: EJ915497
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Reference Count: 9
Promoting College Student Development through Collaborative Learning: A Case Study of "Hevruta"
Bergom, Inger; Wright, Mary C.; Brown, Marie Kendall; Brooks, Michael
About Campus, v15 n6 p19-25 Jan-Feb 2011
Much has been written about the benefits of collaborative learning in terms of its impact on interpersonal skills and academic achievement. Many education studies suggest that students learn better when they work interactively with others and that retention of material is improved through collaborative learning. Others explain that the development of Boyer's higher-order cognitive tasks such as analysis, synthesis, evaluation, and problem solving are enhanced when students work with peers on assignments. Most colleges and universities seek to produce graduates who can be competent team members in an increasingly complex world. What is it about collaborative learning that can be so powerful, and how does it help move students toward those lofty goals named in so many college and university mission statements? For answers, the authors looked at one method of collaborative learning called "hevruta" as it was used in a large lecture course at the University of Michigan. "Hevruta" is a method of learning rooted in the Judaic tradition in which students engage in sustained dialogue with a partner. Through their work at the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) at the University of Michigan, the authors conducted surveys and focus groups with students who learned through the "hevruta" method over a 15-week semester, and in this process they learned about students' reflections about how this pedagogical approach affected their learning. Educators can benefit from clues and insights into the sometimes mysterious process of students' journeys toward becoming independent, contextual, and compassionate thinkers. To serve as their partners on this journey, educators need to know teaching strategies that challenge and support them. They also need to know how to spot when students are moving in the right direction. In this article, the authors try to move closer to understanding connections between collaborative learning through "hevruta" and the epistemological development of college students.
Descriptors: Focus Groups, Cooperative Learning, Student Development, Teaching Methods, Case Studies, Epistemology, College Students, Instructional Effectiveness, Classroom Techniques, Student Attitudes, Participant Satisfaction, Reflection
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Michigan