We all know that collaboration is an important 21st Century Skill, but we must acknowledge that collaboration must be explicitly taught, not just expected to happen perfectly. I model collaborative processes with my students before I expect them to do it. See writing partner collaboration protocol. I’m also always ready to jump in an coach partnerships or groups when dysfunction works its way in.
Technology has helped us collaborate in more effective ways. Some programs I use to help students collaborate on work:
Lots of fun working as a team on Week Without Walls. We prepped our students by discussing five qualities of a good team member: listening, participating, helping, questioning and respecting. After participating in several team-building challenges, students reflected on their teamwork skills and teachers gave them feedback.