Day 156 (of 184) the personalized side of “collaboration” aka ‘not all the time’
A colleague did a nice job sharing an article on introverts in education: http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2016/01/why-introverted-teachers-are-burning-out/425151/
Her biggest concern is that in an age where “collaboration” is becoming a bigger “must-do”, how do we acknowledge the segment of our education world that needs “alone time”.
Call them introverts, call them loners, but don’t call them isolated. Many talented people don’t always like to work with others…..but will when the situation calls for it. Collaboration can be a very effective tool when done right, but like all tools – one tool does not do all jobs.
My own work with mental health fully agrees with this mindset: collaboratively personalizing the education experience. There are times that we want/need to work in groups, but also times we need to be focused internally. Some need more group time, some need more alone time. It’s also why carpools are valuable for some, not for others….
And why I like “situational” group/alone times. And I mindfully used that while working with some Grade 4s on Self Organized Learning Environments – a great strategy employed by @sugatam in his infamous “Hole in the Wall study” – essentially: ask good questions.
The objectives focus was the first part: Self Organized…..how do we “group up”. Groups often are tough – especially at the start – and especially with young learners who haven’t yet found out what approach works best for them. Which is why I like to focus on Sugata’s other bit of wisdom: research (aka looking over others shoulders and stealing ideas). This allows for the understanding that even if you are working “alone” it doesn’t mean you have to be ‘by yourself’ – indeed groups can and should intermingle and learn together. Woz used to do that all the time – collaborate and share ideas as a group and then retreat and do his own amazing work.
Group Work, much like Inclusion, doesn’t mean “all the time” it means when it is appropriate for the learner. Whatever the age. But it also means trying things out – just because one group doesn’t work….doesn’t mean all groups won’t work – sometimes membership matters (and often good friends don’t work good together…!) and sometimes it’s the topics that lead to good group work.
So I found it neat that with some coaching, we were able to see our first SOLE with the grade 4s go well; and better than ‘first times’ often have gone. A big shift I did was with my wordings around groups (and groups of one). Enabling and supporting “working alone” students to still find time to check in and see what others were doing and seeing if they were on the right track, and likewise members from groups going and see what those solo workers had found out as well. Groups within groups within groups – neat learning/working method!