Collaborative pedagogy as it is currently understood was defined by Kenneth A. Bruffee in 1984, through his three principles that have since become staples of the theory. These principles are as follows:
- Thought is “internalized conversation,” thus thought and communication tend to function similarly.
- Thought is “internalized public and social talk,” thus all writing is such internalized talk “made public and social again.”
- Learning collaboratively means to create and maintain knowledge among “a community of knowledge peers” through a process called “socially justifying belief” (Kennedy and Howard 37)
In essence, Bruffee characterizes collaborative learning as a means of engaging students “more deeply” with the text by providing a “social context” in which they can exchange and digest ideas. This process trains students in the style of academic discourse sought by college professors.