A common saying in primary classrooms and in Human Resources offices is the now cliché “There is no ‘I’ in ‘team’”.
The literal truth of this statement hopes to invoke its more figurative meaning, inspiring listeners to rely on one another and work together towards a goal.
However, students in their classrooms are constantly being fed contradictions: there may be no “I” in “team”, but the message reinforced in the classroom community is that students are nothing but individuals working next to their peers, not with them.
As students age, this phenomenon becomes increasingly pronounced; group work grows all but extinct, and cooperation is denounced as cheating. In this all too typical environment, the development of an invaluable skill is sacrificed: collaboration.
Collaboration is a skill for the classroom and beyond.
Collaboration is, by definition, “the action of working with someone to produce or create something” (New Oxford American Dictionary).
Fundamentally a social activity, consciously introducing collaboration into the classroom has extremely positive benefits for all students involved.
Collaborative students are more successful.
Collaboration teaches students a variety of crucial skills applicable far beyond the classroom walls: listening, asking questions, sharing, and compromise are just a few.
An important observation is that the majority of these tools directly influence the student’s ability to communicate clearly and in an organized, receptive manner.
It is on this ability that the modern world now depends more than ever in a global society with many clashing cultural practices, norms, and beliefs.
Integrating students into a collaborative atmosphere from a young age will painlessly and naturally foster prosocial and professional development on a daily basis.
Home Tutors / Teachers can build in opportunities to collaborate every day.
What is important to remember about collaboration is the fact that it can exist on a structural spectrum.
As an educator, you can bring your students’ attention to their obvious dependence on one another, such as through group projects, peer editing, partner work, and guided discussion.
As an alternative, you can quietly cultivate the opportunities for students to take advantage of, such as free time, reading groups, show-and-tell, or optional paired work. Instituting collaboration into the home school environment can prove more challenging, as students in these environments are often inherently alone.
However, resources such as Hace Home tuition agency can give you access to other educators similarly seeking to instill a healthy collaborative spirit in their own students.
Every educator hopes his or her students will grow into strong, independent, successful adults.
What we as educators must remember is that there is no “I” in “team”, and just because there is a “me” doesn’t mean the “a” and “t” contribute nothing.