Conclusions from our Collaboration


Unexpected Similarities

Although a point of interest in our collaboration is the difference in our disciplines, one of our findings is that our disciplines aren't all that different. Both teacher education and literary study are about being a person, about feelings and thinking and learning and growing and being human beings in the world. One parallel we found is that our work with students may have different starting and end points, but strives to achieve similar goals through the process. The four C's of Complexity, Connection, Content, and Commitment are a prime example. We also realized that while Rachel's students' projects originated from the personal (a story from childhood) and moved to the professional (educational or psychological theories), Joe's students projects started with the professional or academic (a poem) and moved to the personal (their interpretations of it). In both cases, the journey involved bridging the personal with the disciplinary or professional/academic.

The unexpected parallels that we found in our students' work helped us to think more about our respective disciplines and our teaching of them. For example, in both sets of projects there's a requirement to make connections. Looking at more and less expert projects, we can see how a student who has breadth of knowledge and is able to integrate what she knows and draw from that store of knowledge succeeds in any discipline. We notice students' expertise in particular as we look at each other's students' work and talk to each other about who these students are. Based on our experience looking at students' work together, we can see that students' integration of knowledge from different disciplines is less apparent as one looks at a student's work within one's discipline than when one looks at it from outside the discipline in collaboration with someone who works within that discipline.

Looking at Learning, Looking Together