The Collaborative Reasoning Research Group is based out of the Center for the Study of Reading at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Its work is guided by three fundamental principles about education, teaching, and learning:
1. The process of teaching and learning should be intellectually stimulating and personally engaging for all students.
2. Teaching and learninga is socially constructed—It is through the social interactions with others that we come to understand and make meaning about the world around us.
3. An education imperative, regardless of the theory, practice, and approach, is to help students become more literate members in the society. The abilities to reason well, to make sound decisions, and to communicate effectively with others are critical for one to have a voice in the public discourse of the society.
aWe deliberately used the singular verb "is" with "teaching and learning" to highlight our perspective that "teaching and learning" is a single construct.
Collaborative Reasoning projects range from basic resarch on the social and cognitive aspects of children's development of reasoning to designing educational environments that promote children's intellectual development as well as social participation skills.
At the core of all of our projects is an approach to classoom discussion, called Collaborative Reasoning. In Collaborative Reasoning discussions, students are engaged with texts through reasoning and deliberation with one another about the multi-faceted issues raised in the text(s). The discussion is a process of teasing out and working through "big" issues; handling of ambiguity and opposing viewpoints; reasoning, exploring, evaluation and building of arguments; and holding one's own or letting go within a social context.