This week I explore why learners need to be collaborators, and how we can help them to do so effectively.I had the great good fortune to spend some time yesterday – with Guy Claxton and others – in Becky Carlzon’s Y1/2 Bristol classroom. A splendid group of small children showed just what five and six year olds are capable of doing once their skilful teacher has helped them understand their learning muscles and how to make best use of them. There was so much to like about the levels of personal responsibility, forethought, open-mindedness, curiosity and empathy that they showed but what struck me most forcefully was the way they worked together. It’s clear that Becky places collaboration at the heart of all classroom practice; her class are coming to understand its values and characteristics. How prescient this is. I came across the following quotations recently on the websites of two of the most successful global companies – I wonder if you can figure out who they are?
- We strive to maintain the open culture…in which everyone is a hands-on contributor and feels comfortable sharing ideas and opinions…Our offices and cafés are designed to encourage interactions between, within and across teams, and to spark conversation about work as well as play.
- People tend to think of creativity as a mysterious solo act, however, in many kinds of complex product development, creativity involves a large number of people from different disciplines working effectively together to solve a great many problems.
- Appraisal of the task in hand
- Open-mindedness and creativity
- Agreement as to the imagined outcome or goals
- Appropriate and distributed leadership
- Evaluation of the time and resources needed to accomplish the task
- Understanding of the roles and responsibilities that need to be discharged
- Systematic thinking: setting deadlines and check-points
*By the way: you might like to look at these approaches as they apply to the teams in which you work in school and elsewhere. The more we understand ourselves as collaborative learners, the more we stand a chance of developing these habits in our students.