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Together We Learn: Collaborative Learning As A Concept

A cohort learning setting paves the way for supportive friendships. Peer support goes a long way in encouraging children in the process of learning.


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What Is Collaborative Learning?

Collaborative learning is an educational approach that encourages students to work together in groups or teams to achieve a common goal. It focuses on interaction, discussion, and problem-solving. Here are some key aspects of collaborative learning:

  1. Teamwork: Children learn how to collaborate effectively, share responsibilities, and contribute their unique strengths to the group.

  2. Critical Thinking: Collaborative tasks often involve solving complex problems or exploring open-ended questions, fostering critical thinking and creativity.

  3. Communication Skills: Children practice expressing their ideas, actively listening to others, and giving constructive feedback.

  4. Social Skills: Learning how to work with peers from diverse backgrounds promotes empathy, tolerance, and social awareness.

Collaborative learning at Talking Circles

Both programs, Young Readers' Club (8-12) & Young Writers' Club (13-16), are cohort programs that allow room for interaction between the members as we take up an activity to do together. Be it reading something or exploring the use of words in different contexts or writing something, all of it is done together. There is room for sharing, mutual encouragement and support once a sense of camaraderie sets in. The younger members learn from the older ones. The older ones learn to be sensitive to the fact that some need help catching up. They often share snippets from their experiences which is absorbed better rather than being told by an adult.


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An inquisitive reader who was reading Roald Dahl's work for the first time, couldn't help wondering how many of the incidents in the book are even possible and hence they sound unrealistic, sometimes silly. Eg. "How can a giraffe help clean windows?" she asked while reading The Giraffe, Pelly and Me. The Roald Dahl fans in the group went out of their way to tell her how magical his writing is, how it is a work of fiction and therefore there is room for imagination. It is almost like going to a beautiful imaginary world that can't really exist. A few weeks later she had her second Roald Dahl's book- The Magic Finger in her hand and couldn't stop talking about the little girl with the magic finger!


Over the years, members of both these programs have made suggestions for activities that they would like to have or sometimes even conduct. We have explored new words using skribble.io, Wordle, Letter Box etc; while a volunteer conducts it. Times when someone is stuck or going wrong, the others are quick to stop the child and give him/her a food for thought. Sometimes a discussion prevails and they finally figure it out.


In one instance, there was a debate about which book we must be reading together. The preferences were strong and there was a tie, thus throwing the "majority wins" rule out of the window. There was much talk and the children figured that tossing a coin would be the fairest way to decide. And that's exactly what they did to pick the book that should get read, while the facilitator watched.


Collaborative learning programs offer a range of benefits for children:

  1. Improved Academic Performance: Children often retain information better when they learn from and teach their peers.

  2. Enhanced Problem-Solving: Collaborative tasks challenge children to think critically and come up with innovative solutions.

  3. Boosted Confidence: Contributing to a team's success can increase children's self-esteem and sense of achievement.

  4. Effective Communication: Children learn to express themselves clearly and respectfully, an essential skill in all aspects of life.

  5. Preparation for the Future: Collaborative skills are highly valuable in the modern workforce, making children better prepared for their future careers.

There is a feeling of joy when one is able to connect with a peer, offer support and get help when needed. Together, they build self confidence and grow up in to accomplished and grounded individuals. After all there is much fun to be had with friends.


 

Both weekday and weekend batches are available at the Young Readers' Club. While this program is for the 8-12 age group, the Young Writers' Club program for the 13-15 age group offers a weekly platform to read and discuss curated articles from the news, observe writing approaches and practise one's writing skills.

NEW! Musings from the Young Writers' Club is an online magazine showcasing the work we do at the Young Writers' Club.


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