Our next stop on our trip through learning methods is the topic of collaborative learning, and how it can positively affect your classroom. There is a theme forming in current education trends where teachers are accepting new roles with their students. It isn’t that the role of a traditional teacher is obsolete, but instead it is becoming more differentiated. With the incorporation of collaborative learning, students learn to work together to explore projects and topics while in your class.
Collaborative Learning Facts:
Collaborative learning is another learning method that places the student at the center of instruction, and encourages learners to work with their peers. This method focuses on students working in groups as a model for learning. These groups can be peer-to-peer or larger groups, and teachers are responsible for creating appropriate projects. Through collaborative learning students develop important skills like: higher thinking, increased self-esteem, preparation for real life vocational and social situations, and are introduced to diverse opinions.
Collaborative Learning Exercises
It’s common to have students work together on projects, but there are some innovative approaches that can improve your normal group activities.
- Snowball: Students start in a small group, and then join larger and larger groups to share findings. These groups continue to build until they encompass the entire class.
- Fishbowl: Three students sit in a circle where one is responsible for the topic, and the other two take opposite points of view. Like a debate, the two students share their opinion and the neutral third picks which student they agree with.
- Envoy: The class is divided into groups and once the original discussion has been completed, a single member of each group goes to an alternate group. These “Envoys’ will continue around the room until they have met with every group and shared all the ideas collected.
Collaborative Learning Tools
Now, that you’ve decided to implement collaborative learning into your classroom, there are several tools that you can use to make this transition efficient. This Docurated website breaks down different resources by age level, so that they you can start immediately. There are also applications you can introduce into your classroom to give your collaborative learning a technological edge.
How have your students reacted to the collaborative learning techniques you’ve introduced into your classroom? We’d love for you to share any tips for other educators in the comments below.