Collaboration: An Essential Skill
The last time I had the pleasure to write an article for the Wednesday Weekly, I focused my attention on the importance of communication in a school. In this article, I want to continue to build on the concept of communication, but narrow the topic a bit. I am going to discuss collaboration, and its importance in the school environment.
Much of the current research being done in education revolves around 21st Century skills, or the skills that are needed for our learners to be successful in the 21st Century. Collaboration is one of these skills that has been identified by numerous researchers, essential both for teachers and students. From a teaching point of view, collaboration enables teachers to better meet the shared vision of a school, share best practices with one another, and collectively meet the needs of learners. At SIS, we have systems in place that facilitate a collaborative environment for the staff and are always looking for ways to further foster collaboration.
Beyond collaborating as educators, it is essential for us to teach our students how to work collaboratively with one another. At SIS, we expect to see our students working together to solve problems, and it is rare that I walk into a classroom and see all students sitting in rows and working independently and silently.
This year, I am seeing an emergence of a different type of collaboration, however, and that is students collaborating using Web 2.0 tools. Web 2.0 tools are platforms that allow students to use the Internet to collaborate with others. I cannot possibly list all of the examples in this article, but here are some to give you an idea of what this looks like in the classroom.
In Ms. Reynolds’s first grade class, students used a tool called Voice Thread to communicate their understanding of solids and liquids, and learn from the answers given by other students. In Ms. Shannon’s 2nd grade classroom, students Skyped with an author to learn more about writing stories and the writing process. In Mrs. Wilding’s 3rd grade class, students are interacting with another classroom of learners in the United States, and sharing and commenting on each other’s work using a Wiki. In many classes, students are maintaining their own blogs.
Collaboration is an essential skill, and it is one we hope you help foster at home. Please find ways to engage your children in collaborative activities. Solve problems together, play collaborative games, or even explore some of the Web 2.0 tools available to help interact with family and friends in other parts of the world.
To read more stories about Shekou International School visit their website: www.sis.org.cn/why-choose-sis