In today’s fast-paced and interconnected world, collaboration has become a vital skill for success in various fields. From the workplace to academia, the ability to work effectively with others is highly valued. In the classroom, collaboration fosters active engagement, promotes social and emotional development, and enhances student achievement. Teachers play a crucial role in fostering a collaborative classroom environment by designing activities that encourage teamwork, providing guidance on effective communication, and promoting a culture of mutual respect.
To that end, a team of our teachers are undertaking an Action Research Project on ‘Making Collaboration Work in the Classroom.’ The Action Research team, led by Jorga Marrum, AIS Deep Learning consultant, includes Mr Nick Sposari, Ms Stephanie Falk, Ms Alice Curtis, Ms Gemma Stead, Ms Margaux Walker, Ms Helen Barrie, Mr Oliver Knight and Ms Elizabeth Watson. Collaboration is one of the six global competencies in Deep Learning pedagogy, and is defined as learners working interdependently to achieve a common goal in a shared learning environment (Underwood and Underwood, 1999).
We recognise that collaboration in the classroom goes beyond group projects or assignments. It involves students working together in a cohesive manner to achieve a common goal, such as problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Through collaboration, students learn to communicate effectively, respect diverse perspectives, and contribute to a team effort. These skills are crucial in today’s globalised society where teamwork and cooperation are highly valued in the workplace.
One of the key benefits of collaboration in the classroom is that it encourages active engagement among students. When students collaborate, they participate in discussions, share ideas, and contribute to the learning process. This promotes critical thinking and creativity, as students are exposed to different viewpoints and are encouraged to think critically about complex issues. Collaboration also fosters a sense of pride and responsibility among students, as they take ownership of their learning and contribute to the success of the group.
Collaboration in the classroom also promotes social and emotional development. It allows students to develop interpersonal skills such as empathy, communication, and teamwork. Students learn to appreciate diversity and respect differing opinions, leading to a more inclusive and harmonious classroom environment. Collaboration also helps students develop resilience as they learn to overcome challenges and conflicts that may arise during group work. These social and emotional skills are essential for students to navigate the complexities of the real world and build healthy relationships.
Furthermore, collaboration in the classroom enhances student achievement. Research has shown that students who engage in collaborative learning tend to have higher academic performance compared to those who do not. When students work together, they are exposed to different perspectives, which can broaden their understanding of concepts and deepen their learning. Collaboration also provides an opportunity for students to teach and learn from their peers, reinforcing their understanding of the material. Moreover, collaborative activities can be tailored to different learning styles, accommodating diverse student needs and promoting inclusivity.
By nurturing collaboration skills in the classroom, we are preparing our students to engage and innovate successfully in our world. The Action Research team looks forward to sharing the outcomes of our inquiry.