Over the past decade, collaborative learning has become an essential tool in the classroom. The majority of innovative curriculums incorporate collaboration into the classroom on a daily basis through investigation methodologies.
In Spain, we can find many different forms of collaboration in the classroom, such as cross-curricular investigation projects where students join forces to learn about a whole host of subjects, from sustainable energy to the history of democracy. Collaboration helps students enhance their investigation and learning abilities, improve their communication skills, and better understand others through empathy.
Collaboration in all subjects and projects at school
Nowadays, at the Best Schools in Spain collaboration goes much further than cross-curricular investigation projects. In fact, it is a part of all subjects. Some common examples are as follows:
- In language acquisition there are many activities that encourage collaboration and teamwork such as debate leagues or public speaking contests.
- In maths collaborative problem-solving exercises are often organised, bringing together the creativity and imagination of all team members.
- In philosophy group reflection on a possible stimulus is also encouraged from a very early age. Philosophy for children, also known as P4C, helps youngsters to develop communication, thinking and listening skills.
- Furthermore, collaboration often gets several schools involved in all types of initiatives outside of the classroom. For example, the Association of Private Schools in Spain CICAE organises debate leagues, model European parliaments, sporting Olympics and other team activities open to students from all over Spain that understand collaboration as a way of learning, connected to the society we live in.
- Teachers and experts in each area of knowledge frequently organize joint interdisciplinary projects, which provide a more holistic vision. For example, robotics and art can come together to develop a creative solution to an urban problem like pollution.
At the Best Schools in Spain, collaboration is a key factor in learning that sets our way of working apart both inside and outside the classroom. Moreover, collaboration goes beyond the school itself to involve experts and professionals from other areas to bring the latest scientific and technological innovations closer to our students. We can mention workshops with universities to develop a videogame in 24 hours, activities to learn about the inner working of the United Nations or diplomacy, Ted Talks, maths competitions or sports activities with other schools.
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Collaboration and online education during the COVID-19 pandemic
Collaboration also involves joining forces in the interest of our surroundings and the reality of the society the school forms part of. Therefore, we have seen how robotics and technology teachers and students have come together to start printing ventilators and join the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain.
Other activities include the human rights workshops organised jointly by several centres so that children can understand what they are and how to defend them.
As sports play a key role in students’ psychomotor, emotional and social development, countless sports leagues and activities are organised in Spanish educational centres involving children from different schools, with the aim of keeping them fit and healthy while also connecting them and expanding their social circle.
The emotional and social benefits of collaborative activities and teamwork are one of the reasons why all professionals at the Best Schools in Spain go to great efforts to develop cross-curricular projects. In fact, this collaboration and will to improve has allowed our schools to design and implement online learning programmes during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The Best Schools in Spain’s distance learning projects have become examples of virtual learning, professional commitment and community responsibility. Digital excellence and the ability to use class and online conferencing tools, as well as the collaboration of the educational professionals that work in these schools, have brought the resilience and drive of our communities into the spotlight.
The emotional and social benefits of collaborative projects
Increasingly, schools try to connect with the community and society we live in. Collaborative learning is present in the classroom, students are more used to working in a team and can make the most of this opportunity. However, at the same time schools themselves are also learning how to work together in order to connect classes with the society we live in and enrich students’ academic and personal growth.
It is increasingly common for the teachers of our schools to organise themselves in networks and become an example for their students to follow, as they are the first to learn by collaborating. Responsibility and a link to the community where the students, teachers and professionals live, study and interact encourage the development of these projects.
Furthermore, the teachers, educators and professionals that work in our schools have the time, support and resources needed for constant training. This also implies collaboration and the development of professional networks, a connection between experts that allows for continuous improvement; the exchange of ideas, experiences, and materials; and an exponential increase in creativity.