Often times in our classrooms we provide visible examples of successful student work, so that current students have greater clarity regarding the assigned task. Those visible models are tangible for students and have a powerful positive impact on their own products.
Teachers who are planning for collaboration also need to see exemplars of collaboration in the classroom. Author Karin Hess paints a picture of deep classroom learning in the article Deepening Student Understanding With Collaborative Discourse. In classroom where deep learning is occurring, students will:
- Connect what they already know to what they are coming to know in ways that are meaningful and relevant.
- Apply what they know to new situations.
- Grapple with challenging work using productive means and lean on support when they need it.
- Analyze, evaluate, and create within the context of content.
- Engage in collaboration, think creatively, and learn at a quicker pace.
- Question the teacher and others with rigor and will reflect on their own learning. The role of teacher becomes more akin to that of coach or guide.
As you prepare for your next student collaborative learning experience, visualize your class engaged in deeper and deeper levels of learning. See your students in action. Hear them sharing ideas. Plan for those moments. You and your students will be glad you did!