Having our pupils work collaboratively makes sense on many levels. We might consider the development of higher order thinking skills like critical thinking, or the improvement in oral communication skills. Collaboration in class will go a long way to making our students socially competent people and looking further afield, the ability to work together is held in very high esteem by prospective employers, so we’re sowing the seeds for a successful future. And if pupils work collaboratively on a regular basis, they will start to see one another as resources, as opposed to looking only to the teacher to answer questions.
Collaborative learning can take many forms, with pupils working in pairs or groups and doing anything from a quick active-learning activity to a wide-ranging project which might take a month to complete. It will involve pupils learning how to give feedback to one another, something which takes time, but which can be very rewarding once the pupils start to master it. It will also require some learning on the part of the teacher, as we may need to make changes to our classroom management and the way we assess our pupils.
If you are interested in learning more about this subject Pearson will be hosting two webinars by the teacher trainers Brian Engquist and Michael Brand on November 16th (one at 6 p.m. and the other at 7.30 p.m.) as part of our series of teaching training webinars. The webinars are in English and will include practical strategies and ideas to get our students working collaboratively.
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