One feature of collaborative learning is to remove the teacher from the spotlight so the groups can figure out things on their own. This encourages critical thinking and a deeper understanding of the material (Pratt & Palloff, 2005). If the students are now responsible for their own learning, where does that leave the instructor?
The Instructor’s Role
Relieved of the burden of getting students to learn, the teacher now becomes more of a designer and evaluator. Lessons are carefully designed to lead students through the process of starting where they are and building understanding until they can reach the goal.
As an evaluator, teachers are responsible for providing feedback to students about their progress. That may involve redirection if the student has gotten off track, validation if the student is progressing well, and correction if misconceptions and misunderstandings occur (Lane, 2008).
The next couple articles will go into specifics.