Consider the concept of a typical classroom, where a teacher imparts information for students to passively consume and memorize. What potential lies there What lies beyond the content shared How will they challenge themselves or learn to express their own ideas Lets envision a transformed classroom instead. In this article by Sanyukta Bafna, Vice President of Hybrid Digital Curriculum Design at TGAA, the focus will be on how collaborative learning enriches teamwork and communication skills.
Sanyukta Bafna, Vice President of Hybrid Digital Curriculum Design at TGAA
In this reimagined classroom, the teacher provides context and explains essential concepts, setting the stage for students to dive into problem-solving exercises within smaller groups. Then, the groups come together to present their solutions to the entire class. This is where the magic truly unfolds! Students are encouraged not just to absorb knowledge but to critically analyze it, engage in debates with their peers, and articulate their understanding. This approach enables them to learn more than mere content; they acquire valuable skills in teamwork, critical thinking, and communication. It happens because their teacher has embraced the power of collaborative learning strategies in the classroom.
Collaborative learning is a teaching strategy that places a strong emphasis on group work and cooperation among students, all with the aim of achieving shared learning objectives. Often, students develop these skills incidentally during their college years and in the workplace. The exciting news is that collaboration can be intentionally nurtured from a very young age, and it carries numerous advantages. In this article, our focus will be on how collaborative learning enriches teamwork and communication skills.
When teachers encourage students to form small groups within a larger classroom setting, they provide each student with the opportunity to actively contribute, attentively listen to their peers, pose questions, engage in negotiation, and much more. These are precisely the skills that hold immense value in the modern workplace, regardless of ones chosen profession. Collaborative learning, therefore, serves as a crucial foundation for nurturing the well-rounded individuals and skilled professionals of tomorrow. Beyond the workplace, it also helps prepare individuals who will lead the world tomorrow with groundbreaking ideas on how to make the world a better place. Change doesn’t happen in isolation so it is important for students to be able to work with each other and build the values and skills it takes to be leaders and change makers.
Another crucial skill we must prioritize for students is communication. In the past, communication was often viewed in the context of public speaking roles that only a select few extroverted individuals undertook. However, the meaning and significance of communication have evolved significantly, permeating every facet of our lives, from academic achievement to self-expression, conflict resolution, and beyond. Communication is an essential skill, whether we intend to send an email, share our ideas with a single person, or deliver a TED Talk to a large audience.
Participation in collaborative learning activities offers students a unique opportunity to cultivate essential communication skills. These skills encompass various aspects, including the ability to articulate one’s viewpoints, actively listen to others, respond thoughtfully, and advocate for ideas. Moreover, engaging in such tasks also fosters confidence among students. The more they participate in collaborative learning experiences, the greater their belief in their ability to communicate their thoughts and ideas.
In the contemporary era, with the proliferation of artificial intelligence and learning platforms, accessing resources for collaborative learning has become remarkably convenient for educators. However, what is truly needed is a shift in mindset. Collaborative learning may appear, at first glance, to be time-consuming, noisy, and perhaps even intimidating to many educators. Teachers are constantly battling the perpetual pressure of completing their syllabus and adequately preparing students for tests and exams. This often results in a reduction of pedagogical practices like collaborative learning, which can only thrive when the school environment actively encourages such activities.
It is essential for schools to establish an environment that not only facilitates but actively supports and celebrates teachers who incorporate collaborative learning into their classrooms. Recognizing the immense value of these activities in nurturing students communication and teamwork skills, schools should provide the necessary resources, training, and recognition. This will empower educators in their pursuit of fostering effective collaborative learning in the classroom. By doing so, we can ensure that students are well-equipped with the skills they need to succeed in the diverse and ever-evolving landscape of the modern world.