Collaboration is a key skill for students to learn that will help them throughout their academic career and is highly sought-after in the workplace. According to research from LinkedIn, it’s third on a list of the most in-demand soft skills, behind creativity and persuasion.
Collaboration is a little more complicated than cooperative learning, which is where students sit near each other and work on a task together with no differentiation of roles. When a class of students is collaborating, their teacher acts as a guide, pointing to different resources such as texts or other students who could help them push their thinking to the next level. Having students work on a bigger task together allows for students to teach each other, building positive relationships and nurturing a safe classroom.
In Punished by Rewards, Alfie Kohn argues, “ . . . Anyone thinking about learning and motivation, anyone interested in educational reform, must attend to the relationships among students in the classroom and consider the importance of collaboration.” Thus, when you’re looking for places to teach social and emotional skills during the school day, a collaborative project is a great place to start.