Friday, October 17, 2014

Day 25: My Blogging Challenge

Welcome to day 25 of my blogging challenge. In case you missed what it's all about, you can read more about it in Day 1.

Today's challenge: The ideal collaboration between students - what would it look like?

I really enjoy seeing students collaborating without an awareness of the teacher. I like watching students collaborate because they are empowered and because they are directing their learning. When the collaboration is forced, it doesn't work.

For instance, as I am starting our Warrior Tech program for some of our high school students, I have so ideas of how I would like to see it run and I interject every so often, but mostly, I sit back and let them take charge through pointed questions. I ask them to describe what it is they want to see happen at campus and why they joined. And, I work as a note-taker, jotting down their ideas and reading them back to them.

I wish I had done this more as a teacher. In just a month of doing this, I have learned so much and we have already started to make strides - in ways I had not imagined.

Giving students the power and freedom to collaborate is the best way for students to collaborate. I know that sounds ambiguous, but there is a real difference between forced partnering of students and giving them assigned tasks and giving students questions and allowing them to break off in those questions.

When I think about, I know I dislike being paired with my co-workers to complete tasks that someone has assigned me. It feels mindless and I don't feel creative. However, when I collaborate with my peers based upon similar interests (ie. starting the Ninja Academy last year with +Brandie Cain-Heard was done from our mutual desire to bring more learning to our teachers - it was not a forced initiative, but one that we created ourselves), the "sky is the limit."

When we allow our students to do that, learning occurs.

How do you envision an ideal collaboration? 

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