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Collaborative Learning for Elementary Students - With Demo

Updated on June 26, 2012

Working together to Learn More

Collaborative learning is a relatively new concept that educators are beginning to apply in the learning environment. In using the collaborative learning model, it is thought that learning will take place more naturally and make a more lasting impact on students.

When engaged in collaborative learning, teachers and students combine their efforts, allowing students to have more of a sense of control over their learning experience. In this way, they will have more of an opportunity to get a firm grasp the concepts they are presented with. While student listening and participation in the more traditional lecturing and note-taking environment will not necessarily be replaced, the goal in collaborative education is to include hands-on educational experiences during the course of a school year. Students are to be led and assisted by an educator and work together in small groups to gain understanding of a concept or create a product.


What does Collaborative Learning Look Like?

Collaborative education can be incorporated into the teaching of physical education and health (or any other subject,) if educators thoughtfully design projects that are based on required standards and topics. The goals of such a project would include:

  • ensuring students can increase their intellectual capacity
  • encouraging group discussion
  • creating interesting goals
  • providing exercises that require problem solving
  • making all aspects of the project challenging
  • building in a component that allows each student to demonstrate responsibility
  • a review by each student of their own work and the work of other group members
  • incorporation of appropriate methods of teacher assessment

The teacher would start by giving a presentation of the scope of the project then instruct students to form groups. A central goal would be broken down into parts that could be tackled by the groups. If needed, these student groupings could be further broken down to enable even smaller groups to work on certain aspects of their group’s component. In the end, group contributions should be combined in a way that benefits the whole classroom. Students might, for instance, plan and produce a few healthy meals in a nutrition fair style atmosphere. Some students could work on planning, while others put the meal together. Still others could work on conceptualizing the fair environment and some could contribute displays for the fair.


When Students and Educators Collaborate, Everybody Wins

In providing collaborative experiences, educators enrich their classroom environment in an enjoyable way. Students are able to make an individual contribution that is part of a team effort. Teams then contribute to an overall goal. Projects can even be school-wide, allowing students to interact with staff and students in other classrooms or grades. Cooperation of this sort benefits students by encouraging enthusiastic participation in something larger than themselves while increasing their knowledge of important concepts and skills. The collaborative learning environment is also a more accurate representation of real-world experiences students will encounter as adults.

Great How to Example


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