Considerable research indicates that when students collaborate with one another they...
  • Engage in more discussion, problem solving, and critical thinking.
  • Learn the subject matter more completely.
  • Have a more positive classroom experience.
  • Develop higher levels of interest in the subject matter being studied.
  • Retain information longer than students working individually.
  • Become more competent and confident public speakers.

Collaborate with Others



• Demonstrate the ability to work effectively and respectfully with diverse teams



• Exercise flexibility and willingness to be helpful in making necessary compromises to



accomplish a common goal



• Assume shared responsibility for collaborative work, and value individual contributions



made by each team member (Trilling & Fadel, 2009)



These communication and collaboration skills can be learned through a variety of methods



(e.g., project-based learning, problem-based learning, and design-based learning). Research



on teaching communication and collaboration skills encourages direct and mediated



communication, working with others on team projects, and p



You can’t expect people to learn how to work in groups simply by putting them in groups. Plenty of people who have engaged in group work for decades still don’t know how to work well in groups. Despite all of this experience, we find bullies, shirkers, drama queens (or kings), and so on.

Learning requires feedback. These ineffective group members do get feedback on their poor skills--the group doesn’t function well--but apparently that is insufficient.
If we expect students to learn how to become better at working in groups, it’s not enough simply to assign group work. We must teachthem how to be better group members (Cite ; sort out information here)

Grouping

Constructive Feedback

Conflict Resolution


Methods of Collaboration

Classroom Response Devices
Encourage students to form groups, discuss solutions, and determine a collective answer using response software. This may also be used for starting conversations about controversial material that may otherwise be difficult to start a conversation about.
Videoconferencing
and Webconferencing
Videoconferencing and Webconferencing can connect a diverse range of people across great distances, bringing new groups with new perspectives into classroom conversations.
Wikis
A wiki is a website where multiple individuals add and edit content collectively. Multiple related pages may be linked within the site.
Wikis can be used in teaching for:
  • Encouraging students to build a collaborative knowledgebase
  • Facilitating research coordination and collaboration
  • Group portfolios
Benefits of wikis for students include:
  • A sense of class identify
  • Peer interactivity
  • New modes of assignment submission/completion
  • Ownership of content



Can't we all get along? It's painfully noticeable that many graduating high school students, and even college grads, lack the basic skills of successfully working in a group or participating in teamwork activities. Public and private students alike receive possess fewer collaboration skills than many employers would like.

In fact, one of the major reasons today for firing an employee is for lack of getting along with fellow co-workers or listening to authority figures.

Collaboration is an essential element to both personal and professional success, involving working with multiple personalities for a common purpose. As Christians, we are taught to respect and value our neighbors, classmates, and spouses. Collaboration goes far beyond acceptance; it goes into the realm of cooperation.

If you think about it, collaboration is the reverse of individuality. God makes us unique individuals, and the world makes us have to work together. The key is balancing the two. How can we teach this?

Here are a few ideas to encourage collaboration building skills in your students.

1. Assign student teams randomly. Force students to work with personality types they aren't drawn to. This is similar to a work environment where you can't choose your co-workers.

2. Assign clear responsibilities to each student. Like in real life, this gives duties to each student, so you can spot the slackers and also those who pull extra weight to cover up for them.

3. Show students examples of collaboration. Visit a business or have professionals speak in class.Modeling is the perfect way to show a visual example. Have students listen to or watch a demonstration of collaboration in progress. Students will more easily see the need for compromise and unity.

4. Assign a leader. Put someone in charge, even if he isn't a natural leader. Often in the workplace a person will get assigned to something he doesn't like or excel at. This pushes him outside his comfort zone. You'll quickly see the sinkers from the swimmers.

5. Require progress to be charted. A perfect simulation of the workplace is the recording of clear progress over a project's time period. This requires the team to work together to know where each other is at.

6. Create a place for communication to take place. Find a place for students to communicate together, like a Facebook page or a discussion board. Make sure it's a place where you can go back and track communication patterns and break downs. (Emails are just too cluttered to follow.)

7. Let students direct themselves. Sometimes in real life, you have no direction. Your boss is out, your manager is sick, and you have to figure it out. See how your students handle the same situation.

8. Don't give a single grade for a group project. Everyone is working for the grade, but as an employee, you're graded individually. In fact many employers use self-evaluation for annual reviews. Students need to learn how to spot strengths and weaknesses on their own.

9. Survey students. In a group setting, students are afraid to point out weaknesses in teammates for fear of rejection or hostility. After the project is over, ask students to submit their opinions on who worked well in a group as well as who didn't.

In all our well intentioned plans to teach students all the foundations of math, science, history, and language as well as implement a Christian worldview, the fundamentals of collaboration can be easily overlooked. Along with critical thinking skills, collaboration might just one of the most valuable skills students will ever learn, and they will use them every day of their lives.

As with every group, there are always the leaders, the followers, the apathetic, and, of course, the unmotivated. When they get in the real world, many students will find out the hard way this does not fly in the workplace or in their personal life. So let's get together and work on this project of teaching collaboration now.

How do you teach student collaboration in your class? We want to know.
=