As technology continues to shift and new tools are available to support us as educators create more meaningful and personalized learning experiences for students we need to begin to think about the importance of developing durable skills in our students.
Let's be honest- none of us have had a course on how to develop these durable skills! (Yes, we need to fix that!)
Here are 5 simple ways to add collaborative experiences into your classroom.
- Group Projects and Activities:
- Assign group projects that require students to work together to achieve a common goal.
- Vary group compositions to provide students with the opportunity to collaborate with different peers.
- Clearly define individual roles within the group to ensure equal participation.
- Classroom Discussions and Debates:
- Facilitate class discussions on relevant topics, encouraging students to express their opinions and listen to others.
- Organize debates or structured dialogues where students must collaborate to present and defend different viewpoints.
- Establish guidelines for respectful communication to create a positive and inclusive environment.
- Collaborative Learning Spaces:
- Arrange the classroom seating to facilitate collaboration, such as clusters of desks or movable furniture.
- Designate specific areas for group work, equipped with whiteboards or collaboration tools.
- Rotate students through different collaborative spaces to promote interaction and teamwork.
- Peer Teaching and Tutoring:
- Implement peer teaching activities where students take turns teaching a concept or skill to their classmates.
- Pair stronger students with those who may need additional support, fostering a cooperative learning environment.
- Encourage students to seek help from their peers before asking the teacher, promoting a sense of community.
- Digital Collaboration Tools:
- Integrate technology tools that facilitate online collaboration, such as Google Docs, Microsoft Teams, or collaborative project management platforms.
- Assign tasks that require students to contribute and edit a shared document, encouraging real-time collaboration.
- Provide guidance on digital etiquette and effective online communication.
- Assume students don't know how to collaborate. Take time to discuss what good collaboration looks like. Even make a list and revisit/ debrief after a collaborative experience to modify and reflect on lessons learned.
- Coach students and groups as they are collaborating. Notice effective collaboration and point it out. If you see an issue, stop and have a discussion with the group and empower them to problem solve.
- Be sure group expectations and task goals are clear to help keep groups on task.