Collaboration and Shared Thinking in a Classroom

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Teaching is a very noble profession. It entails a lot of sacrifices but at the same time it makes you feel fulfilled. One of the tasks of the teacher is to encourage collaboration and share thinking among students.

Collaboration and shared thinking is an important concept of learning because it forces the students to achieve a group goal. The purpose of collaboration and shared thinking is three-fold: to encourage group efforts to succeed, develop relationships among participants and psychosocial adjustment.

Mary M. Kitagawa (1994) article “Its About Time to Talk” is a study about taking time to listen to students. It says that allowing students to bond together and collaborate is critical to exploration of ideas without interruption. This will enable the students to fully explore ideas and interpretations of literature.

The advantages of collaboration and shared thinking are: attaining higher-level of reasoning, more ideas and solutions, greater transfer of learning. Collaboration and shared thinking requires five essential elements: positive interdependence, individual responsibility, group processing, social skills and face-to-face interaction. There are at least 3 members in a group for better collaboration. Groups are required to have specific goals, performance criteria and a system of reward. In order for groups to succeed, the teacher must teach them cooperative skills and uses group-self-assessment.

Elizabeth Close (1992) in her book “Literature Discussion: A Classroom Environment for Thinking and Sharing” writes that “scaffolding became the glue that connected [her]lessons”. Close asks the students to join in literature discussions by sharing their thoughts, asking questions about the literature and listen to others’ interpretations. By considering “a wide variety of interpretations” students could generate a number of benefits.

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