Collaboration, a classroom culture
As a teacher, I feel that collaborative work is important because I have noticed that group knowledge is deeper and richer than the individual one. Group knowledge power comes from the different perspectives where members in collaborative settings share their different understandings of content. As a teacher, I find my role in a group as a guide. However, I should develop that role by promoting the different roles students can play in a group. Collaborative work can be made rich by giving students the time to identify themselves more and to contemplate on how others feel in different collaborative roles. In collaborative settings, members are affected by the understanding of their own roles and by what they expect others to do as their role imply; provided that they are motivated and excited as a group. Members can affect others more by doing their role professionally.
I learned about collaboration in the last two weeks that it is highly effective in creating a safe environment to learn. Being myself in collaborative tasks working with others, made me identify myself as in the role of the creative and imaginative and free-thinking person who generates ideas and solves difficult problems. That is not enough to have a complete collaborative experience! According to (Belbin, 2010), there are eight more roles members can play in collaborative tasks.
In my classroom, collaborative work takes place 70% of the time. I organize it by assigning random member to groups every day. I can do more by not assigning a group leader like I used to do, but by making different roles that appeal to different types of learners. It would be beneficial because students get to know each other and themselves more. Although I think that there are constraints and limitations to collaborative work like being not suitable for measuring personal growth and individual achievements, that can be overcome by having learners create learning journals to measure their learning.