The Eclipse of Thinking: An Arendtian Critique of Cooperative Learning
This chapter presents a collection of essays on Hannah Arendt and education. It focuses on a wide array of Arendtian concepts such as natality, action, freedom, public space, authority and judgment which are particularly relevant for education in a democratic society. Arendt's "purely" philosophical depiction of thinking is the basis upon which this chapter offers a critique of pedagogical models that seek to create communities of learning by advocating for peermediated, group learning processes. These pedagogical models are captured under the category of "cooperative learning". Because cooperative learning is structurally incompatible with the event of withdrawal from the company of others, upon which contemplation is based, the result is the eclipse of thinking. "Positive interdependence" is the essence of cooperative learning. It exemplifies the "teamwork" character of a classroom setting, where students are working together so that all are able to learn. The chapter offers a close textual analysis—indeed, an exegesis—of important sections from Arendt's The Life of the Mind.