Year 5 students are happy to be back in school again after the half term break and we thought we would take this opportunity to give you an insight into the collaborative nature of learning at BIS. As a key attribute in our Aide Memoire, ‘Learning Together’ is a central focus of the education BIS provides, and our recent experience of virtual learning has reminded parents, teachers and students alike of the value of the social nature of learning.
Our classrooms are often very lively places, full of chatter and discussion and this is when the best learning occurs. Importantly, through working together, our students are exposed to each other’s opinions and perspectives. They solve problems that arise, make decisions, make sense of new information and support each other in their skill development. This collaborative learning extends across all subject areas and is equally important at break and lunchtimes.
Teachers use different strategies to develop children’s collaborative skills in class. For example, groups may be constructed in different ways to enable participants to flourish (e.g. by personality, ability, friendship, or at random). Quieter students may be grouped together so that they are not overshadowed by those in the class who are usually more vocal. Conversely, dominant children working together may need to work on listening more carefully to others and refraining from ‘taking over’. Sometimes students are assigned different roles (such as scribe or leader) in group work to facilitate turn taking and to maximise participation.
Not every lesson will have an ‘end-product’ but we believe that the process of working together is key to enjoyable and effective learning. We are thankful that most of our students are presently back in school and enjoying the social aspects of learning.
Ms Jude Handscombe, Year 5 Leader