It’s not surprising that the old adage “two heads are better than one” is popular: collaboration has a lot of benefits. From getting the task done fast to feeling a sense of belongingness, working with other people is an enriching experience — most notably, for students.
When pupils are put in a situation where they would have to collaborate with one another, they are inspired to think better and embrace the responsibility of tasks. They participate more in the classroom. More importantly, they feel good about themselves, boosting self-esteem and social skills.
So, the question is, how do you create a collaborative learning environment? These activities might help:
Ask a classmate
After a lesson you have just discussed, let the students think of a question based on your lecture content. It can be something that confused them or didn’t understand. Then, have them ask the person beside them.
What you’re doing here is encouraging them to reflect on your lesson and trace their understanding, at the same time, instilling the attitude of asking for help from others. It’s best to write the questions in the classroom whiteboard so the class can go back to the questions posed and ponder about them better.
In this activity, you’ll be the one to ask a question. Let students think about the question, then after a few minutes, encourage them to share their insights with a partner.
If you want to take this activity up a notch, ask students to go around and discuss their answers to classmates until they get to someone who has a different answer from them.
The goal now here is to persuade the other party to change their mind. What happens here is you’re exposing students to different perspectives. And being open-minded is crucial to any collaborative activity.
Give a case study
Divide the class into different groups. And be mindful of groupings. Groups that are too small may lack diversity in perspectives. Groups that are too big, on the other hand, may create freeloaders. So, go for midsize, depending on the number of students you have.
Then, let these students in groups analyse a case study you’ll give. Allot ample time for group discussions, and then let students report what they’ve talked about.
A collaborative learning environment promotes critical thinkers and socially-intelligent students. Create that atmosphere in your classroom today.