The teachers loose the control of the class when using collaborative learning

Even though one needs to give up part of the control in order to give space to cooperative tasks, the success of collaborative learning depends on the organizational ability of the teacher. In cooperative learning, students are guided through structured processes with clear objectives. For the students to succeed, it is necessary to cooperate. The teachers are not less competent when teaching activities of collaborative learning, is just that their role changes, letting them create the ideal environment in which the students can learn through a process of discovery. To facilitate the performance of the students and their abilities becomes more important that proving the students how much control and knowledge they have on the topic.

When the tasks are done in a group, some students don’t contribute and they get the credit for the work they didn’t do

Collaborative learning includes ways of assuring the individual responsibility. (Felder and Brend, 1994). Students that don’t participate, usually fail their individual exams, short tests or homework. Another technique to assure the participation of all members is to ask a student, randomly, to expose the solution to the team, and afterwards give the whole group the same grade, based on that person’s answer. This technique is more effective when the teacher makes the effort of not asking this to the top students. These students usually take the responsibility of making sure that the other members of the group understand the solutions.

Another way is to make the students evaluate the other group members anonymously and list the names of those who actually contributed to the activity.

The editorial labor: an opportunity for service

The latin etymology of the word editing is edere, “give life to”, “give birth to”. The one who edits is constantly «giving birth», «giving life», adding something from his/her own essence to the creation of the text that will be published. (Or is there two types of editors: the midwife-editor and the mother-editor? Certainly, traditional edition is more on the side of the midwife-editor; the editor  acts as midwife because the creature comes already formed. But what about the others?, the ones who take a text before it exists, before the one in charge of creating it has been contacted?).

I am avoiding, on purpose, using the word “work”, because it derives from a tool for torture in the middle-ages: the tripalium. Therefore, I suggest the word labor, linked to the old task of cultivating the soil, sowing. The editorial labor is then, a labor(sowing) that gives form and content to the text(gestation-birth). It provides a concrete form so it can be touched and seen by others, by the other. And it is precisely that other that the editor should never ignore: all our efforts have as the ultimate end to eliminate everything that could be an obstacle during the reading. For that purpose we need to imagine, dream about and know that other, so we can foresee his needs, wishes and curiosities.