Tip #3 – Collaboration

As you can see in the previous blog about working in groups, the rules and the group work roles lend themselves towards collaboration.

However, many students may still have a competitive mindset, where they compete for the teacher’s attention, getting the right answers, getting the highest marks et cetera or competing to get the class’s attention, getting the most laughs.

To develop a sense of collaboration, each of the groups can be given a unique task rather than each group having the same task. When you design the group activities, you can consider the following:

Competition

All groups are given the same activities. The ‘winners’ are the students who get the most answers correct, most quickly. This means the majority of the class are not winners. Over time, certain students expect to fail.

Collaboration

Each group gets a different, but related activities. The ‘winners’ are the whole class with each student contributing to the overall understanding, in their own way.

An excellent example of students working collaboratively in groups is to use the Jigsaw Strategy where 4 to 6 groups delve into a package of study material that is unique to each group and then the results are shared with the whole class.

Jigsaw Strategy Examples

Generally, in the Jigsaw Strategy is a process of smaller pictures being assembled to make a larger picture. In some cases the ‘smaller pictures’ come from mixed media study materials. This might be done at the presentation and teaching stage. In some cases the ‘smaller pictures’ come from the memories and experience of the learners. This might be done at the review or assessment stage.

Example 1 From details to overview

In order to gain a complete picture of the topic being studied, each group’s contribution is shared.

  1. Take a large amount of mixed media study material.
  2. Give each group a roughly equal share.
  3. Let them use the materials to get started discussing what they know and what’s new about the topic.
  4. Move some students from one group to another. Now they share what they have read, seen, discussed in their two groups.
  5. Repeat the process until every student has been in several groups.
  6. Share, in writing, Q&A, or performance, what they have learned.

Example 2 Case Studies

In order to solve the problem, each group needs to share their information in such a way that the other groups understand and come to the same (correct) conclusion.

  1. Each group gets a different (but related) Case Study. They read, discuss then write their solution describing how they would solve the problem.
  2. After a set time, move the case studies to other groups who now validate or correct the previous group’s solution.
  3. This can be repeated until several groups have seen and solved several case studies.