My school is a collaborative learning space - not just my classroom but the whole school.
Before and after school, staff share ideas, teaching and learning strategies, resources - we are a team who work together.
Lessons during the school day involve collaboration between the children, between the adults, and between the adults and children - we learn from each other; bounce ideas off each other; explore, investigate and question together.
In the classroom, the children sit in mixed ability groups around sets of tables, with the groups changing weekly so they experience working with different learning partners: all the children bring different skills, knowledge and understanding to the ever-changing groupings. They discuss problems, try different approaches, share and compare answers. They take confidence from each other to challenge themselves to work outside their comfort zone and push themselves a step further than they might have thought possible.
We can then use the outside space to be collaborative in physical activities, or the hall to get down in the floor, with no furniture as a barrier to working together. Group members have a look at what others are doing, take ideas back to their group to modify, adapt and improve; they give each other advice, learning to listen and respect each other’s opinions, reach a compromise when necessary, make sure everyone is included and valued.
And then once a week after school my classroom becomes the learning space for Code Club - not quite a Computer Clubhouse but the laptops are out, children look at each other’s projects, ask how they can achieve the same effect, help each other to debug problems. Someone wants to do something - nobody knows how but they make suggestions, experiment, learn from mistakes and achieve success. And I am part of the collaboration - I learn from them, but today I also helped with a problem because I had experimented and learnt last week doing my little Passion Scratch for this course! I felt how the children must feel when they help someone with something they don’t consider themselves to be an expert!
Collaboration gives learners confidence - they are not learning in isolation, they don’t have to stop when they get stuck, they are not held back on their learning journey by their sense of limitation because there is always someone there to offer a helping hand.