3 interactive resources from MindShift to help teachers collaborate effectively
Helping educators to better understand ways to maximise student potential in a collaborative learning environment
Research shows that collaboration is the best way to increase learning and improve student performance
In an effort to help teachers to creatively and efficiently collaborate, MindShift has come up with three interactive resources that explore how this kind of productive exchange can help to solve challenges that affect learning.
All of the resources below are offered free of charge to educators and can help teachers tackle specific learning challenges through the lens of collaborative learning.
Lesson 1: How teachers should learn to collaborate
May 2018, the American Educational Research Association (AERA) published a report on a number of important trends in research on the benefits of collaboration for students. In an interview with MindShift, the article’s author, Sharon Key, had this to say about the potential:
“Collaboration increases student performance because it creates ‘learning spaces’, both inside the classroom, where students collaborate with their peers, and outside the classroom, in the community, on groups of students or in teams of teachers. Collaboration minimizes the effects of isolation that affect learning and increases students’ understanding of the great beyond.”
By collaborating, teachers can engage their students in skills such as critical thinking, time management, and problem solving, which can all be helpful skills in the classroom. By being more connected to teachers, students are also more likely to become more connected to other students, who in turn are more likely to be more connected to themselves and to their teachers, increasing the chance of forming friendships.
Over time, kids are bound to learn important lessons that can only be learned from interaction with other people. When kids learn that they’re not alone or can rely on others, they learn to trust others and to open up.
While a typical school day is pretty much a ‘teacher’s day’, teachers are able to help all students learn because they are always around. In a webinar on the following information, a MindShift expert said that teachers will be able to harness even greater amounts of student potential in a collaborative learning environment.
“At MindShift, we believe that it is important for teachers to use technology to access resources and engage their students. Leveraging technology not only increases teacher effectiveness but can also connect teachers to other teachers for a greater range of school support and assignments. Teachers can also create virtual classrooms that support students from anywhere in the world.
Collaboration can also be an effective way for teachers to start or follow through on planning. Plan an entire project in a collaborative environment and check the progress and get feedback from the students as they move towards completion. Collaboration will also help teachers to connect with students when they can’t participate in a formal classroom.
Collaboration not only brings us closer to our students, but it also allows for more education. That means our schools can actually help and protect our young people, too.”
Lesson 2: How teachers can reduce school isolation
Many teachers are faced with the challenge of ‘entrenched isolation’ and while it can be hard to be with just one student or one class at a time, some learners can have no contact with teachers for weeks or even months. According to one professional learning resource on the MindShift website, isolation is normal and necessary. A 2017 study by the National Endowment for the Arts found that peer relationships in preschool education can be beneficial for children, meaning that students will not only benefit from having classmates that read with them, but they will also develop the social skills and content knowledge needed to cope with social interaction later in life.
This problem becomes more acute when students are not connected to an institution as they approach high school, and some schools even offer counseling for these students. Students who are accustomed to more social interactions in their everyday life may find it harder to adjust when they’re used to only one form of communication, such as a phone call or email.
Teachers can help to reduce isolation by looking at how they can get to know their students. For example, if a student doesn’t interact with the teacher regularly, teachers can try scheduling a meeting or getting extra help from school resources.
Competitive pressures from the outside world can also contribute to isolation and in this environment, sometimes it can be impossible to break out of the silence. This might mean taking longer to write a lesson or studying in a group. Collaboration can help in these situations, as well as in ones where it is very difficult to bring teachers and students together.
Collaboration can provide opportunities for teachers to interact more often and get to know their students better. The webinar on collaboration found that teachers can become more connected to students and help them develop social skills by taking advantage of social media networks and applications.