Feb 17, 2017

Preparing Students for the Future

For many teacher librarians, their week includes working with students on research skills to prepare students for their futures.

How does one incorporate other 21st century skills such as collaboration, critical thinking, communication and creativity into the research process?

GWAEA Media Specialist Deanna Weber suggests ways to build collaboration into the research process for students in grades 7-12.

When planning a collaborative research project, consider:

• Giving more direction at the beginning of the project so students understand the process.

• Including various learning scenarios such as laboratory work, study teams, debates, writing projects, problem solving and writing. When learning scenarios are varied, it produces higher-ordered reasoning.

• Using different strategies (e.g. jigsaw)

• Establishing group interactions such as:

- Initiating discussions

- Challenging assumptions.

- Reaching a consensus.

- Compromising and encouraging.

- Bringing other people into the discussion.

- Using real-world problems.

- Enhancing problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

- Diversifying groups (e.g. backgrounds, learning styles, ideas and experience).

What is it about collaboration that makes it a great fit for teaching the research process? For starters, students who are in grades 7 - 12:

• Gain personal responsibility

• Learn to work as a team

• Learn effective interpersonal communication skills

“Preparation for real life social and employment situations” as one of the top benefits of collaborative learning. In fact, research shows that educational experiences (such as collaborative learning) that are active, social, contextual, engaging, and student-owned lead to deeper learning. (The Smith Files)

For more information, contact Deanna Weber, GWAEA media specialist, dweber@gwaea.org.

Category: GWAEA