In re-reading Dewey's Democracy and Education (one of my all-time favorite books on teaching), I came across his central belief that a school activity, or lesson, is "truly educative in its effect in the degree in which an individual shares or participates in some conjoint activity." That's an amazing statement. He tells us (and he repeats this innumerable times) that true learning is always a social activity. He believes that a student learns only when he or she is involved in a shared project -- an activity in which a group works cooperatively toward a common goal. He explains that a student doesn't have to be physically present with the group, but there at least has to be an imaginative connection between the student and some community of learners that shares beliefs and goals. Hmmmm...food for thought.