Collaboration is one of the 21st-century skills that is necessary in the future work world. In our classrooms, one way to promote 21st-century skills is through collaboration. Collaborative activities are essential in language learning development. Students produce new information through collaboration when they work in groups.
Especially in second language classrooms, students learn the language more efficiently when engaging with each other. Collaboration helps students to engage in dialogues through working together. Studies show that effectively facilitating a group is a 21st-century skill and necessary for the future work world.
Advantages of Collaboration
Students learn from each other
Promotes high-order thinking skills
Improves social skills
Develops critical thinking skills
Students become self-directed learners
Helps developing meta-skills
Working according to interest/skills improves motivation
Improves language comprehension and production
COLLABORATION AND ESL LEARNING
Collaboration helps ESL students to practice the target language in a meaningful and authentic context at their own level of proficiency while providing them access to comprehensible input and an opportunity for output.
Through sharing ideas students can improve their comprehension and production skills through the communicative use of language. Collaborative learning activities provide the perfect environment for students to learn from each other by showing an understanding of a topic and the need to exchange ideas in a real-time conversation. It also improves ESL students' vocabulary and grammar. Collaborative learning gives students the chance to develop their language functions such as:
Compare and contrast
Expressing likes and dislikes
Cause and effect
* It is important for ESL teachers to practice vocabulary and the grammar structure relevant to function before collaborative work.
Understanding Collaborative Learning Design and
Collaborative learning which is a student-centered approach refers to environments where students learn together. Each individual takes part in the learning process to create meaning together. The main objective is to facilitate cooperation in meaningful and interactive activities.
Students work together through the processes of inquiry, making meaning, coming up with solutions, and sometimes a product. Teachers can group students to work on a problem together, create drafts of work, coming up with solutions, literature circles, discussing and sharing points of view. While getting engaged in these types of activities, it's no secret that students work on their social skills. Here are some of the social skills students can develop through collaborative learning which will be essential to overcome future challenges in their academic or work world.
WHAT SOCIAL SKILLS DOES IT PROMOTE?
Accepting different ideas
Agreeing and disagreeing politely
Staying on task
It might be beneficial to practice these skills by embedding them into handouts/worksheets to create awareness. Students can reflect on their social skills within a collaborative activity.
WHAT'S THE TEACHER'S ROLE IN COLLABORATION?
In a collaborative environment, the teacher's role is a facilitator. The teacher as a facilitator should support the learning environment and the learning journey of the student so that the learner can draw his/her own conclusions. Here are some of the roles of the teacher in collaborative learning.
Introducing a theme or present a statement that is interesting, thought-provoking for students, where it can lead to an inquiry.
Promoting curiosity and engage students in thinking critically/asking questions.
Grouping the students according to learner style, interest, knowledge of a topic, skills in pairs, or groups.
Monitoring student learning and assess their progress through formative assessments.
Download an example group and self-assessment tool
Taking part in facilitating group collaboration within the group and provide support when necessary.