At Hastings, we have identified collaboration as one of the 8 learner habits we specifically want children to develop to be fulfilled, successful learners.
Why should we value collaboration?
- We learn better with others
We learn best through discussion and collaboration with one another. We question, try out their ideas and put forward hypothesis, deepening our own understanding in the process.
- We divide the workload and multiply our success
Two minds think better than one. This is true in all aspects of life. When we put our heads together, we can create more, think more deeply, and solve harder problems.
- We get different perspectives
Through collaboration we are better able to understand how others view the world. We broaden our horizons, develop new perspectives, and learn to appreciate differences of opinions.
- We learn to identify and value everyone’s contribution
We need to learn to work together and value what each person brings to the table and find our own strengths in a collaborative situation.
- We develop all-important soft skills
We can’t predict what today’s children will be doing in the future, but we know that soft skills (communication, negotiation, empathy, interpersonal skills, social skills, cultural competence) are going to count more and more. These skills cannot be developed by one person working alone. They require collaboration and interaction with the people around to achieve common goals.
At school we work to explicitly model and teach children how to collaborate; creating collaborative experiences for them to learn from.
There are a number of skills which children can be helped to develop, which in turn will support them to become better collaborators
What we can do outside of school to promote collaboration?
- Help children become better listeners and communicators – model good listening skills in our conversations with them.
- Support the idea of turn taking from a very young age. This could be when reading stories or playing games.
- Allow children to see our own mistakes and model the process of learning from them.
- Talk openly about plans and ideas, so children can see how we adapt our own thinking and take on board others’ ideas.
- Create opportunities for children to collaborate with their friends and family (shopping, baking, tidying up, gardening etc).
- Be honest in our praise – If something could be improved, have that discussion, and together find out how best to fix it.
- Praise the process of collaborating over the finished product.
Above all, we need to remember that ‘Coming first’ or ‘being the best’ has nothing to do with learning. Learning happens through discussion, trial and error and ultimately is hugely helped by collaboration. Our expectations of children must be set in this framework.
“Who did you work with?” is a much more helpful question than “Who did you beat?”