There is an old proverb that says: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”.
That refers to collaboration, about people working together and achieving fruitful success. It is true that none of us can be as smart as all of us and some activities will be better done together than done alone; for example, to move a big tree or build a bridge. Recognizing the huge power of collaboration skills in students, Skidos hereby would like to open a discussion about collaboration, why it is important for young students to master and how to improve collaboration skill for children from an early age.
What are collaboration skills?
Collaboration is the ability to share ideas and thoughts alongside with another person to achieve a shared objective such as to come up with an idea, create a product or give a solution. It is about combining different arrays of thoughts, notions, beliefs, theories into a concrete explanation or solution that all group members have made contribution to.
Collaboration has many synonyms such as teamwork, cooperation, coordination and they all refer to the ability to work with at least one another person toward the desired goal which can be done ineffectively on ones’ own.
Why is collaboration skill important for young students to master?
First, collaboration has been considered one of the crucial skills to master for human to survive and grow. Because the prehistoric men lived in groups and the tools for hunting and farming at that time were so simple that for gathering food or hunting giant animals for food, prehistoric men must have worked together toward the common goal of getting something for their families to eat.
If they had not collaborated well enough, human beings would have died of hunger or wars. Not only does collaboration skill play its important role to keep human out of extinction, but it is also a vital skill in the 21st century. Given that the world keeps changing so fast and highly technological projects and missions arise with increasing level of complexity that require much of human effort to complete, collaboration skill is believed to be a key factor for both social and economic development. It can be suggested that collaboration skill should be built up from an early age for a kid to grow up well in this 21st century.
Moreover, collaboration skill plays its important part to connect people together for better living and working experience. Given that the world keeps more and more crowded, and we are surrounded by thousands of people with different opinions and viewpoints on various topics and subject matters. What happens if we are placed in a position to work with someone with opposing perspectives?
The situation can get tenuous but if we have the ability to collaborate, things can work out well. To be more specific, if we know how to deal with the situation and join forces and allocate resources together, we can have an easier time integrating and understanding the differences in our teammate’s viewpoints, allow them to voice their opinions and openly work with each other toward the common goal.
Without collaboration, the shared goal would not be achieved and the team project would not be completed. It can be said that people of all ages, both adults and children, if we want to be successful in doing group works or team projects, collaboration should be the key to success.
Besides, knowing how to collaborate establishes a solid foundation of many other important skills. It plays on communication, time management, problem-solving, leadership, resource allocation, just to name a few. Through collaboration, kids can learn about how their peers think and communicate with others to achieve the final goal.
They can openly embody new streams of thoughts and learn to appreciate differences among people’ perspectives, promoting supportive relationship and social bonding. If a child knows how to collaborate with others, he or she will have the ability to master other vital skill sets. For example, a shy child can get better when working in pairs with another talkative and confident friend, which then facilitates him to develop his oral communication skill.
While young students play together in class or in the playground, they are practicing collaboration for their team to win the game, and to collaborate well in the game, children tend to develop their communication capabilities, patience, supportiveness, emotional control, leadership skills, etc., at the same time. Learning to collaborate together from a young age, children can get a bunch of vital skill sets to head-start in fulfilling their 21st skills for children education and career goals.
How to develop students’ collaboration skill?
How do you teach collaboration skills to students? As mentioned before, collaboration skill is crucial that young students should learn to collaborate with other children from an early young age. Hereby, Skidos would like to suggest some tips to help deepen your children’ collaboration skills.
Give clear instructions
What are collaborative learning activities for kids? When young students are grouped together to conduct a collaborative assignment, it will be better that they are given clear instructions so that they know what they are expected to do. Parents and school leaders should use simple words and instruct children what to do in details. A good way to do that is to establish the rules and procedures from the very beginning, describing how to conduct that project step by step while using short and segmented instructions.
Remember to always show or demonstrate what you mean and go over the steps with the children by Saying ‘Number 1 … Number 2 …’ at the beginning of your sentences. For example, if you want a group of children to collaborate well while playing the tug-of-war game, instructions can be given as following:
Number 1: “Stay in your position,
Number 2: Hold the rope,
Number 3: Pull the rope towards you and try to hold it,
Number 4: Do not let go until the end.”
This can stimulate children to develop logic and sequencing skills, as well as autonomy and confidence, as children understand what they are expected to do.
Moreover, parents can model the language that your children should use for collaborating, have them practice saying several sentences to their teammates. Several useful sentences for collaboration can be telling others to take turn “Now it’s your turn”, to ask for support “Help me, please”, “Can you give me that blue pen, please”. This helps children to develop their interpersonal and sequencing skills, become more confident, and cooperative.
Give guidance and support when necessary
Sometimes, parents and teachers should intervene to stimulate collaboration skills in students by giving children hints, guidance and support before and while they are working together. Adults are expected to circulate and supervise the teams and offer them guidance to connect children to work with each other toward the common goal.
If needed, parents and teachers should take part in some groups which are being dominated by one or more members by reminding them to ask about other teammates opinions and to take turns to contribute their ideas. Guarantee that every teammate is given a role that fits their personality and strengths and they can be committed to being responsible for their parts.
It is also crucial that parents explain to kids about what each role involves, how it matters to the group work and motivates kids to make effort to complete their tasks. By doing so, children can get a better understanding of how to play their part and will try their best to finish his or her own part for the best of the team.
Practice makes collaboration skills in students perfect
Parents can practice creating a collaborative environment at home for your children by inviting your children’ classmates over for team-building games and activities. One of the best ways to foster group work and collaboration is to encourage kids to play together and organize their own play dates. Your child may perform well when playing with his own best friend, but things can be different when it comes to playing with a group of friends.
The more your kids have interaction with a certain number of friends, the more he or she will be able to know each other, build trust, discuss solutions and gain teamwork spirit. Plus, while children are playing together, parents should be ready to resolve team conflicts. As children find it quite hard to control their emotion and misbehave sometimes, parents will need a little planning, patience and practice, to navigate these disruptions and avoid them fighting against each other.
If parents keep patient and supportive while children are playing collaborative games, you will assist your children to gain not only collaboration skill but also other important skills such as problem-solving and conflict-resolution. With the great help of parents, children can be given a chance to improve their collaboration skills, to evaluate and hone their social abilities right at home.
Besides, another way to practice collaboration skills in students is to encourage them play team sports and teach them good sportsmanship. Sooner or later when kids get older, they will learn about competition and victory. Please remind your children to treat their competitors right because winning or losing in sports does not matter as long as you try your best, so be caring and kind to people in all circumstances in life, even they are your competitors. Parents can teach your children to hug or shake the hands of the rivalry teams when the game ends even if you win or lose, always be a graceful person.
Do household chores with kids
Parents can teach your children to learn about collaboration and practice collaborating with you at home by having them be involved with some of household chores with you. You can take your children with you while you are going shopping, running errands and explain what is happening around them. For example, if you are at a book store, show your children what the cashier or cleaning lady or shelf stocker is doing.
This somehow can facilitate them to gain basic understandings of different roles and how everyone matters in order to make the book store run well. Another example can be that when doing laundry, make sure to show your children it is a team effort instead of each person only taking care of their own clothes.
Mother will collect clothes, father then put them into the washing machine, children can be responsible for folding clothes and putting them into the wardrobe. By doing so, kids can start learning how to do things collaboratively when they are little.
Sum up for collaboration skills in students
In conclusion, Collaboration skills in students plays a big part in building vital social skills for them and supporting collaboration in kids might seem challenging for the ones without much of experiences and given that kids can probably misbehave while joining a collaborative project. For children to practice collaborating, it can take a long time and parents as well as school leaders need to be patient to teach and reinforce teaching method while guiding children to be more collaborative! Use Skidos tips to nurture your kids’ collaboration skills so they can work well with others in the future!
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