It's All About the Learning

Collaboration - why don't we teach it?

April 24, 2008

Crunch time here so very little blogging time. Besides, I must say that trying to whip your dissertation proposal into shape leaves little incentive for more writing.

This terrific white paper on collaboration, though, caught my eye. [Link to full article at Anecdote]. Actually, what caught my eye was this sentence in the introduction:

Today we all need to be collaboration superstars. The trouble is, collaboration is a skill and set of practices we are rarely taught.

Now, as a "teacher" of long standing and a concerned community college professional, that concerns me. Why are we "rarely taught" to collaborate? As discussed in this white paper, tomorrow's workers will need to collaborate as never before. And, sheesh .. aren't these new millennial gensters supposed to be master collaborators to the exclusion of any interest in one-on-one discussion?

Is it possible that formal educational didactic environments remove natural instincts for collaboration in favor of "group work" that most people I know claim to hate. Maybe our formal learning "group work" needs to start with teaching our students HOW to function in those groups; teach them HOW to collaborate. Consensus building, constructive evaluation, evolving leadership all are components that would serve our students well.

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