No One of Us Alone is as Smart as All of Us Together

May 6, 2014

Brette Woessner

“No one of us alone is as smart as all of us together.”


This is a quote to live by in any collaborative environment; but it admittedly isn’t easy to implement and embody in a classroom, department meeting, or even a circle of friends. For this post, I’d like to focus on how this mantra could be woven into student collaboration. In essence, how do we go from the ‘divide and conquer’ mentality to a place where student groups genuinely work together to create shared knowledge? There are of course a few important things at play, but one striking current that can work against this ideal is the issue of status. Status, high or low, can stem from gender, race, socioeconomic status, social status, strength in other classes, prior math experiences, etc. And whether it is voiced or not, this sense of status affects daily work and interactions in a huge and meaningful way. By this I mean that when presented with a task or problem, students with high status are expected to do well and so, they often do. The opposite happens for low status students. And this is not just self-perception. The truly tragic part is that this status is propagated by self, other students, and occasionally (even if inadvertently) the teacher.

Keep reading this post on Brette’s Blog “Learning Residency”