Culture & Competency

At School, Collaboration is Cheating

I was talking with Nancy last week about collaboration, and one of the comments I made was how our educational system conditions us that collaboration is cheating. Remember at school, “working together” was taken as cheating, and we got punished for that. Once our young people hit the workforce, they have a lot to unlearn – and from their most formative years too – and a lot to learn afresh.

Perhaps this is changing – as Evan talks about in his recent post entitled “Changing Education” – as some universities are taking a different approach:

Businesses face challenges in becoming collaborative partly because traditional education systems often discourage collaboration. These systems condition workforces and organizations to operate in command-and-control mode. Now there are promising signs of an educational upheaval that mirrors shifts in business and government. Many universities are seeking to reinvent themselves to preserve their relevance.

In The Culture of Collaboration book, I write about the shift in the role of the professor from “sage on the stage” to “guide on the side.” Driving the shift is the decline in credibility of professors. In an era of rapidly changing information, students can search online for ideas more quickly than teachers and professors lecture about them. “Students don’t really believe their professors,” is the way David Edwards put it during our conversation last week.

Read more: Changing Education

Categories: Culture & Competency