Teamwork is an essential skill that students should learn at an early age. Students who collaborate with others build knowledge and learn to solve common problems. But building student collaboration in the classroom can sometimes be a challenge, but it’s important that teachers encourage it.
Sometimes, all students need is a little push to collaborate with others. That push can be an incentive in the form of extra credit or special stickers that students can redeem for prizes at the end of the semester. Making collaboration a mandatory part of the classroom curriculum can help students better work together. Collaboration also helps introverted students break out of their shell and become comfortable working with others.
One example of collaboration is a sports team. The team consists of a group of people working together and sharing knowledge of the game and of their opponent to reach a common goal. There’s no reason why the same type of environment can’t be provided in the classroom. A teacher can start by including competitive teamwork activities in course programs and dividing the class into teams, tasking them with the universal goal of beating the other teams. It can be a fun way to facilitate collaboration and help students feel more comfortable.
Every class has that one disruptive student who speaks out and sometimes makes classmates feel foolish or uncomfortable and less willing to work on group projects. Teachers should set a tone early in the school year and let it be known that disruptive behavior is unacceptable at any time. Make sure students know the class is a positive, nurturing and safe environment; this will make them more apt to participate and work together.
Many students loathe group projects, but at the same time, there’s perhaps no activity that facilitates collaboration better than these types of assignments. The idea behind group projects is to encourage students to make plans, and coordinate with others whether it’s to meet in the library after school or at one of the group members’ homes. Make sure every student in the group has a different role for contributing to the final outcome.
Teachers should take advantage of open houses and parent-teacher conferences to talk to parents about things like collaboration among students. Letting parents know how important collaboration is in the classroom can be an extra driving force in terms of encouraging students to work together with each other.