The New Groupthink
From a New York Times article titled "The New Groupthink":
Our schools have also been transformed by the New Groupthink. Today, elementary school classrooms are commonly arranged in pods of desks, the better to foster group learning. Even subjects like math and creative writing are often taught as committee projects. In one fourth-grade classroom I visited in New York City, students engaged in group work were forbidden to ask a question unless every member of the group had the very same question.I'm not sure why group seating in classrooms seems to have caught on so strongly. As a parent, I know that children are better behaved (if only by necessity) when they're not sitting close enough to bother someone else, mark on the other child's paper, etc.