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[Xmca-l] Re: Article on Positioning Theory

It's been a pleasure joining the group so thank you for this invitation. I admire the scholarly exchange and it has really stretched my thinking in a number of ways.

Yes, for some students collaboration may not be in their best interest to collaborate. Our objectives as teachers to have them collaborate, may not be very relevant to the student or may be even harmful. That student that really ought to have an option has to compromise something in such instances - their emotional, social, and or intellectual well being/advancement, for example. That being said, any collaborative effort is a compromise of sort for each person. This is the very essence of human interaction. It's the degree and the damage from the compromise that must be weighted.

Mitchell likely would have picked another person to work with if given the option to work alone or work with a partner or small group. I would surmise that the students he would have picked out would have been "nice" students, for lack of better words, than stars mathematically. 

Alice would have picked the cool kids to work with. She would have compromised her intellectual outcomes.

Ella would have picked the smartest in the class by her standards, and then should have tried to outsmart them. Ella is another interesting case. Always the perpetrator in every group she was in regardless of the group membership. Ella was also the class Victorian that year. She would compromise social relationships to achieve her means to her end.

Will would have picked those students that would have done the work for him. Learning was an easy compromise for him.

Collaboration means compromise in my mind. Regardless of the context.


Donna Kotsopoulos, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Faculty of Education & Faculty of Science, Department of Mathematics
Wilfrid Laurier University
75 University Avenue West, BA313K
Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3C5
(519) 884-0710 x 3953

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>>> On 3/28/2014 at 9:54 AM, in message <53357F22.1070109@mira.net>, Andy Blunden <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:

Thank you, Donna, BTW, for your generous use of your time and energy to
discuss these issues with XMCA-ers.

I think this means then, Donna, that it cannot quite make sense to say
that "for some students... collaboration may not be in their best
interests", for the more appropriate posing of this question must be
*what type of collaboration* is or is not in the best interest of this
or that student. Which then poses the question of "What types of
collaboration are there?" rather than turning to the detailed mechanisms
by which a given individual is positioned in a way which may be damaging
to them.

What do you mean by "compromise" in this context, Donna?


*Andy Blunden*

Donna Kotsopoulos wrote:
> I'll try to address the recent comments in one email.
> Yes, I fully agree with Andy that every human relationship is an
> instance of collaboration. This should suggest that more realistic
> expectations of school based collaborations are in order. There is
> compromise with every human relationship and the same is true in
> collaborative activities with children and schools.
> Andy's point about the need for a conceptual framework for these types
> of understanding such human relations and interactions in a school
> setting is interesting. Such a framework would have to include the
> possibility of compromise, an open lens attending to productive
> silencing and what I had referred to in earlier drafts as productive
> privileging (Will's case in the article), a critical evaluation of
> learning and the kinds of learning that has taken place.