As regular readers know, my colleague Katie Hull and I are working on a sequel to our popular ESL/ELL Teacher’s Survival Guide, and it’s going to be a good one.

I’ve run up against a question in my writing and I’m hoping that readers can help…

I’m trying to figure out the difference between cooperative and collaborative learning and, very importantly, how the Common Core Standards views them both.

There seems to be multiple definitions out there about what the two mean – and, boy, do I mean multiple!

It appears to me, and I might very well be wrong, that the Standards use the word “collaborate” in the context of discussions to help individual students develop their own understanding of concepts, like a Socratic Seminar (what might be other examples?). And it also seems to me that the Standards don’t particularly value a cooperative learning project where students are working on a common goal as “collaboration.” However, the Standards would view that kind of project as a valid means towards achieving other Standards, such as “sustained research.”

I’m not an expert on collaborative or cooperative learning, and nor am I an expert on the Common Core Standards.

So I’m hoping the readers will help me out here — am I on the right track or am I missing something?