Collaboration comes in many forms. Collaboration is imperative to a thriving business, classroom, or home, whether you’re working together to complete a task, sharing opinions, offering feedback, or communicating cross-culturally. Some places around the world practice this much more naturally. While other cultures prefer working independently.
Before the pandemic, collaboration often happened organically because of proximity. Classroom teachers and office workers can attest that it’s much easier to ask colleagues for advice in the same area. When the pandemic happened, collaboration began to take a more creative turn. Being an edtech company, we have experienced the benefits of creative online collaboration.
How to Cultivate a Safe Place for Collaboration –
There are many contributing factors to workplaces or classrooms that lack collaboration. Sometimes culture, language, or personality can hinder one’s contribution. If the person is shy or reserved, sharing ideas might be dreaded. On the other hand, maybe cross-cultural communication hinders the collaborative space because of the lenses each processes the world through. Whatever the case that affects collaboration, whether in the workplace or the classroom, those in leadership positions should devote themselves to building a safe place.
How Brainwriting Can Support Creativity and Collaboration-
Adam Grant – Organisational Psychologist at Wharton – builds a case about brainwriting. What is brainwriting? In most organisations, only the most confident voices share their ideas. However, even those who don’t have the confidence to speak have something important to contribute. Brainwriting makes space for those who lack the same confidence as their peers by allowing them to write their ideas beforehand and share them. Grant says, “When groups meet to brainstorm, good ideas are lost. People bite their tongues due to conformity pressure, noise, and ego threat. A better approach is brainwriting: generate ideas separately, then meet to assess and refine. Group wisdom begins with individual creativity.” Brainwriting is a great way to support students to share their creative ideas with one another.
In our blog post, The Far-Reaching Potential of Online-Learning, we discussed how online learning enables students to get to know others different from them through the extra layer of safety and protection of the online environment. At ConnectEd, our teachers supervise this space and help students connect with their peers. Our students come from all around India, which means that students are learning more about people different from themselves. Having these interactions at an earlier stage in life is so crucial as the world is becoming more globalised. It’s also the teacher’s job to draw out students who lack confidence.
Ways Teachers Can Facilitate Collaboration –
- One way educators can do that is by calling on all students not just students who always participate.
- Another way is to inform students beforehand that their contribution and participation are required. Telling students beforehand gives them time to process and prepare.
- Different forms of collaboration help students contribute in ways that best suit their creativity. If a teacher continues to follow the same patterns repeatedly for drawing out student participation, those few students who struggle to have the confidence to share will continue to suffer.
- Lastly, building classroom communities where students genuinely invested in each other’s lives is imperative to organic collaboration. (See our blog post on how to build classroom community)
Ultimately Why Collaboration Is Important –
There are many reasons why collaboration is important. No matter what one thinks about oneself, one will never be fully enlightened. As a result, sharing ideas with one another can help co-workers, students, and families grow. Each academic journey is unique, but there’s nothing more satisfying than celebrating achievements with your peers. We collaborate because we need one another. We collaborate because two are better than one. We collaborate because we respect the views of others and their experiences that vary from our own. At ConnectEd, we believe that the educational journey is rewarding and holistic when everyone works together.