Student collaboration is a powerful tool for learning. Larissa Pahomov, author of the book Authentic Learning in the Digital Age: Engaging Students Through Inquiry, provides the following framework for student collaboration in the classroom (pp. 68-78):
- Spend time on the set-up. Planning is essential to successful student collaboration. Establish ground rules and protocols for student collaboration and review them regularly.
- Model collaboration on a daily basis. Arrange the classroom so that students have the opportunity to work with one another in a collaborative manner a little each day.
- Monitor progress and allow students to police themselves. Keep your finger on the pulse of the groups, so that you know if they are functioning at a healthy level. Create opportunities for students to also monitor their own progress and share their concerns with group members or you.
- Connect beyond the classroom. Encourage students to meet outside of the classroom in face-to-face gatherings or in some electronic meeting form.
Keep this framework in mind as you plan for student collaboration in your classroom next week. You will find that students enjoy the collaborative environment and learn much!