Kesar Patel is the Principal of Zain International School, Bangalore. She is an Educationist and a National Award Winner. She has authored many books and is a voracious speaker. She is also a blogger, a social influencer and conducts many Teacher Training workshops.
With her rich experience of 20 years in education, Kesar Patel believes in bringing innovation in school education to adapt it to the modern needs.
“Collaboration as it turns out is not a gift from the Gods but a skill that requires effort and practice.”
The internet etiquettes have increased but social interaction has decreased. With children, youngsters and adults spending more and more time on the internet, there is very less space for interaction and collaboration. Hence collaboration in education has become the need of the hour.
Collaboration is emerging as one of the most important skills for the 21st century learners.
More than 80% of the employers look for good collaboration skills among the new hires, according to a survey conducted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities. But sadly, as per their call, less than 40% of the new hires are geared up with this skill before they enter the workforce.
Teaching collaboration in schools and especially in Primary education, has many benefits. Giving group work to children and making them find a solution to the ultimate is the ultimate hack that we look forward to.
Some of the benefits of collaboration in education are-
1. Confidence building
One of the popular confidence quotes for children is-
“Put all excuses aside and remember this: You are capable” - Zig Ziglar.
When a task is given to a team of students, they take it up for discussion among the group. Then the tasks are divided into micro tasks and goals are set which they plan to achieve. When a major task is divided into micro manageable tasks, children feel at ease and believe that they can be achieved with a certain amount of success. This builds up confidence among them.
2. Resilience among children
All the characteristics of resilient children can be seen when they are working in a group. Their ideas might be liked by the others in the group or they might be rejected. The children learn to bounce back into form even if they are ridiculed for their idea or criticised for not completing the task as per the set standards of the group. If they do well, the group showers praise, and if they fall behind, the group offers support. So, they learn in both the cases.
3. Gains for the introverts
There are majorly two types of people - introverts and extroverts. The extroverts are dominant and at times, they impose their views upon others. The introverts might not be allowed to speak but they learn even by listening during the group discussion.
4. Conflict resolution
Negotiation and communication are embedded in the term collaboration. There might be mistrust or arguments and non-agreement on the way the tasks are to be done. The children learn to negotiate and communicate. If their idea is worth it, it gets accepted. Otherwise the child learns to accept failure as a learning lesson when the task does not meet the set aim of the group.
5. Division of work and multiplied benefits
“Collaboration divides the tasks and multiplies success.”
While collaborating in a group, the tasks get divided but when the set task is accomplished, the success manifolds. There is a sense of achievement and positivity among each member of the group. There might have been some tasks which would have been difficult for some of the members. These tasks are either taken over by those members who are well equipped to do it or help and advice is easily available in the group. Hence no task seems daunting to any member.
Teaching collaboration to children in a classroom is not easy. The teacher should create a small group and assign roles or tasks to the students. Mostly the students tend to take the task and work independently not realising that they are actually contributing to a group. Each participant must feel and know that the task is very important and it will eventually contribute to the success of the group. Take care that no one is just waiting to enjoy a free ride when others are slogging hard.
Just motivate them to understand that - “No matter how minimal the task is, the success will be mammoth for everyone.”
Hence it is important that the educators take to teaching collaborative skills in their classroom to the students.
This article originally appeared in the TeacherTribe Magazine August 2020 edition.