Collaborative learning and its influence on the development and formation of students’ social skills
Collaborative learning as an interactive method where students work in small groups for actively interact by sharing experiences. The effectiveness factors of using this method in preparation youth for real life social and employment situations.
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COLLABORATIVE LEARNING AND ITS INFLUENCE ON THE DEVELOPMENT AND FORMATION OF STUDENTS' SOCIAL SKILLS
The article focuses on such interactive method of teaching as collaborative learning where students work in small groups. Collaborative projects have gradually grown into structured, cooperative group work. Collaborative learning is based on the model that knowledge is created within people where members actively interact by sharing experiences. Groups of students work together to search for undertaking, or solutions, or to create product of their learning. Effectiveness of collaborative learning is that every member of the group is involved in the learning process obtaining the experience of interaction between each other. This method is quite distinct from traditional teacher-oriented approaches to learning. Students become empowered contributors to the learning process, responsible not just for their own learning but for the outcomes of their peers as well. Teachers perform a role more of a facilitator to create an environment and construct a set of tasks that will enable students to learn on their own.
Using the method of collaborative learning teachers should also take into consideration its combinability with social skills formation which brings positive results in preparation for real life social and employment situations.
Keywords: collaborative learning, interaction, peers, group work, collaborative environment, approach individual differences, interpersonal development, relationships, social skills, efficiency, diverse perspectives.
У статті аналізуються метод колаборативного навчання як ефективний підхід до підвищення якості навчання та його соціальний аспект. У колаборативній моделі студенти і викладачі виконують у навчальному процесі ролі, які відрізняються від традиційних, орієнтованих на викладача підходів до навчання. Викладачі виконують роль швидше посередника, який має створити ситуацію та сформулювати низку завдань, які дають студентам можливість навчатися самостійно. Колаборативне навчання передбачає вдосконалення навичок міжособистісних та групових стосунків, розвиток ефективних способів комунікації, вміння працювати в команді та вирішувати конфліктні ситуації. Ефективність цього методу полягає в тому, що він допомагає студенту стати активним, підвищує мотивацію до навчання, сприяє глибокому засвоєнню знань та зростанню інтересу до предмета, а також є особливо корисним у розвитку соціальних здібностей. Студенти вчаться приймати більш продумані рішення та аргументовані кроки, глибше розуміти матеріал, критично мислити. Зростає їх мотивація до пізнання в цілому і до освіти зокрема, розвивається здібність сприймати ситуацію з різних сторін та будувати більш позитивні взаємостосунки з партнерами. Таке навчання формує також і більш позитивне ставлення до викладачів, самооцінки, укріплює психологічний стан та соціальні компетенції.
Ключові слова: колаборативне навчання, колаборативна модель, мотивація, соціальні здібності, критичне мислення, взаємостосунки, психологічний стан, соціальні компетенції.
В статье анализируется метод коллаборативного обучения как эффективный подход к повышению качества обучения и его социальный аспект. В коллаборативной модели студенты и преподаватели исполняют в учебном процессе роли, которые отличаются от традиционных, ориентированных на преподавателя подходов к обучению. Преподаватели исполняют роль скорее посредника, который должен создать ситуацию и сформулировать ряд задач, которые дают студентам возможность учиться самостоятельно. Коллаборативное обучение предусматривает усовершенствование навыков межличностных и групповых отношений, развитие эффективных способ коммуникации, умение работать в команде и решать конфликтные ситуации. Эффективность этого метода состоит в том, что он помогает студенту стать активным, повышает мотивацию к учёбе, способствует глубокому усвоению знаний и повышению интереса к предмету, а также является особенно полезным в развитии социальных способностей. Студенты учатся принимать более обдуманные решения и аргументированные шаги, глубже понимать материал, критически мыслить. Повышается их мотивация к познанию в целом и к образованию в частности, развивается способность воспринимать ситуацию с разных сторон и строить более позитивные взаимоотношения с партнерами. Такое обучение формирует также и более позитивное отношение к преподавателям, самооценке, укрепляет психологическое состояние и социальные компетенции.
Ключевые слова: коллаборативное обучение, коллаборативная модель, мотивация, социальные способности, критическое мышление, взаимоотношения, психологическое состояние, социальные компетенции.
Formulation of the problem. Collaborative learning is an interactive approach to learning where students and teachers work together to create a common pool of knowledge from which all are educated. According to Dillenbourg, the "broadest definition of collaborative learning is that it is a situation in which two or more people learn or attempt to learn something together" [6, c.2]in this model, knowledge is situated at the center of the learning process rather than as the exclusive purview of either students or teachers. It becomes something that is co-created by teachers and learners, both of whom are active participants in the learning process [6, c.4]. In Fellers' words, "the cooperative learning approach sees knowledge as something to be constructed, discovered, transformed and extended by students" [7, c.227]. According to Johnson et al [11, c.15], five things distinguish collaborative learning from other approaches:
- positive interdependence means that each student's performance is dependent upon and directly tied to the performance of others in the learning environment, both students and the instructor;
- face-to-face promotive interaction means that students take on instructional roles within the learning process, helping each other learn and master new concepts and skills;
- individual accountability requires that students be assessed and evaluated on their individual performance in addition to their group's performance, either by the instructor alone or by the instructor alone or by the instructor and their peers;
- social skills recognizes that students have limited experience with a number of the interpersonal skills demanded by successful collaborative learning, like conflict resolution, clear communication, teamwork, leadership, and followership. Successful collaborative learning recognizes this fact and compensates by providing training and coaching in these areas;
- group maintenance is the ability of participants to maintain a positive working relationship with one another over the course of the learning process by seeking out and incorporating performance feedback from the instructor and one another.
The idea of collaborative learning appeared in 20th of the last century. But the work at its strategies began only in 70th in different countries of the world (Great Britain, Western Germany, Australia, Netherlands, Japan, Israel and other). The main ideology of collaborative learning was presented in details by three groups of American scholars from John Hopkins University (R. Slavin), Minnesota University (R. Johnson and D. Johnson, 1987) and the group of John Irons (California, 1978), and the group Shlomo Sharan Tel- Aviv University (Israel, 1988). Collaborative learning has British origin. English instructors (R. Gilles, F. Adrian) investigated the ways of helping students to gain experience in professionally directed interaction by increasing their activity in learning.
Collaborative learning is an interactive method in learning process and is very effective not only in gaining knowledge in the subject but also makes influence on students' individual behavior in social environment. The aim of the article is to focus teachers' attention on development and formation of social skills of students while using the method of collaborative learning that will assist them to behave in certain ways in particular situations.
Presenting the main material
In the collaborative model, students and teachers assume roles in the learning process quite distinct from traditional, teacher-oriented approaches to learning. Students become empowered contributors to the learning process, responsible not just for their own learning but for the outcomes of their peers as well. Teachers perform less of a "sage on the stage" role and more of a facilitator, or "guide on the side", someone who "creates an environment and constructs a set of experiences that will enable students to learn on their own" [7, c. 227] Teaching in a collaborative environment is a "complex application of theory and research that requires considerable instructor training and continuous refinement of skills and procedures" [11, c. 4]. The collaborative instructor has to understand a lot more than just the content knowledge to teach: "he / she has to understand the process of teaching in the cooperative learning environment to make it work" [11, c.4]. The essence of this understanding is reflected in the teachers' core contribution to learning I the collaborative model, namely carefully-crafted instructions that define the nature of the interaction between learners, how achievement of learning outcomes will be evaluated, and the design and provision of extensive scaffolding of interpersonal supports, training and coaching. From this perspective, "the collaborative situation is a kind of social contract, either between the peers or between the peers and the teacher. This contract specifies conditions under which some types of interactions may occur, [although] there is no guarantee they will occur" [11, c. 5]. collaborative learning student effectiveness
Collaborative learning is a situation in which two or more people learn or attempt to learn something together . Unlike individual learning, people engaged in collaborative learning capitalize on one another's resources and skills (asking one another for information, evaluating one another's ideas, monitoring one another's work, etc.). More specifically, collaborative learning is based on the model that knowledge can be created within people where members actively interact by sharing experiences and take on asymmetry roles. Thus, collaborative learning is commonly illustrated when groups of students work together to search for understanding, meaning, or solutions or to create an artefact or product of their learning. It redefines traditional student-teacher relationship in the classroom which results in controversy over whether this paradigm is more beneficial than harmful . Collaborative learning activities can include collaborative writing, group projects, joint problem solving, debates, study teams, and other activities.
Collaborative learning is very important in achieving critical thinking. Individuals are able to achieve higher levels of learning and retain more information when they work in a group rather than individually, this applies to both the facilitators of knowledge, the instructors, and the receivers of knowledge, the students .
Over the last twenty-five years the use of small-group learning has greatly increased. Informal collaborative projects have grown into structured, cooperative group work.
Benefits from small-group learning in a collaborative environment include:
- Celebration of diversity. Students learn to work with all types of people. During interactions they find many opportunities to reflect upon and reply to the diverse responses fellow learners bring to the questions raised. It allows students to add their perspectives to an issue based on their cultural differences. This exchange inevitably helps students to better understand other cultures and points of view.
- Acknowledgement of individual differences. When questions are raised, different students will have a variety of responses. Each of these can help the group create a product that reflects a wide range of perspectives and is thus more complete and comprehensive.
- Interpersonal development. Students learn to relate to their peers and other learners as they work together in group enterprises. This can be especially helpful for students who have difficulties with social skills. They can benefit from structured interactions with others.
- Actively involving students in learning. Each member has opportunities to contribute in small groups. Students are apt to take more ownership of their material and to think critically about related issues when they work as a team.
- More opportunities for personal feedback. Because there are more exchanges among students in small groups, your students receive more personal feedback about their ideas and responses. This feedback is often not possible in large-group instruction, in which one or two students exchange ideas and the rest of the class listens.
Collaborative learning differs from traditional teaching approaches because students work together rather than compete with each other individually. It can take place any time students work together - for example, when they help each other with homework. Cooperative learning takes place when students work together in the same place on a structured project in a small group. Mixed-skill groups can be especially helpful to students in developing their social abilities.
Collaborative learning is based on the view that knowledge is a social construct. Collaborative activities are most often based on four principles:
- the learner or student is the primary focus of instruction;
- interaction and "doing" are of primary importance;
- working in groups is an important mode of learning;
- structured approaches to developing solutions to real-world problems should be incorporated into learning.
Collaborative learning can occur peer-to-peer or in larger groups. Peer learning, or peer instruction, is a type of collaborative learning that involves students working in pairs or small groups to discuss concepts, or find solutions to problems. In Panitz's words, "the empowerment of students produces an environment which fosters maturity and responsibility in students for their learning. The teacher becomes a facilitator instead of a director and the student becomes a willing participant instead of a passive follower . Students are also forced into followership roles because each member of the team is similarly empowered. The result is that students have to negotiate about how best to use their collective research materials, which requires a higher-order understanding of the materials in terms of how best to present it. From a group maintenance perspective, students also have to negotiate leadership and followership roles based on their strengths and weaknesses. For example, with a group of eight people, not everyone can or need to be involved in the actual presentation materials of during the class.
Research, writing, editing, and facilitation skills are required to successfully complete the assignment and students have to think critically and honestly about the value they bring to the team. This method of promotive interaction is "one of the foundation principles of cooperative learning [because it] builds students' responsibility for themselves and their group members through a reliance upon each other's talents, and an assessment process which rewards both individuals and groups" . A collaborative approach, one that requires students to attend class in order to perform meaningful roles and make valuable contributions, is a widely-recognized benefit of collaborative learning .
As mentioned above, collaborative learning makes great influence on the development of social skills. Social skills are the skills we use to communicate and interact with each other, both verbally and non-verbally, through gestures, body language and our personal appearance. Social skills are what humans require to get along with others. They help in creating better relationships among people which reduces stresses and anxiety. Developing effective social skills helps in better communication, while ability to form relationships with people allows individuals to function properly in a large group of people. Good social skills help individuals to function properly in a large group of people. Good social skills help individuals to achieve greater efficiency when dealing with others. These skills allow people to make sound judgement on whether it is appropriate to mingle with a given group of individuals or to politely down invitations from incompatible groupings.
People with effective social skills are more admired in the society than those lacking such skills, and are more likely to get support from the mass for their initiatives. Such people often thrive in leadership positions.
There are distinct advantages to having well developed social skills. Here are five:
1. More and better relationships. Most people cannot Focusing on relationships will help you get a job, get promoted and make new friends. Well honed social skills can increase your happiness and satisfaction and give you a better outlook on life.
2. Better communication. Relating with people and being able to work in large groups naturally develops your communication skills. After all, you cannot have great social skills without good communication skills and being able to convey your thoughts and ideas may be the single most important skill that you can develop in life.
3. Great efficiency. Being good with people, you can more easily avoid being with the people you do not like as much as others.
4. Advancing career prospects. Most organizations are looking for individuals with a particular, tactical skill set: the ability to work well in a team and to influence and motivate people to get things done.
5. Increased overall happiness. Getting along and understanding people will help you to open many personal and career-related doors.
Conclusions and prospects of further researches
Researches show that educational experiences that are active, social, contextual, engaging and student-owned lead to deeper learning. The benefits of collaborative learning include:
- development of higher-level thinking, oral communication, self-management and leadership skills;
- promotion student-faculty interaction;
- increase in student retention, self-esteem and responsibility;
- exposure to and an increase in understanding of diverse perspectives;
- preparation for real life social and employment situations.
Research suggest that collaborative learning combined with the focusing on formation of social adaptation skills bring positive results such as deeper understanding of content, increased overall achievement on grades, improved self-esteem and responsibility and higher motivation.
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