In a world where children are born into a highly advanced tech-age and drawn into a wide range of electronics devices, making opportunities available for students to develop their interpersonal communication skills is an increasingly integral part of teaching and learning. As children become more comfortable and confident interacting with numerous devices, they tend to immerse themselves in the virtual world, where giving commands and instantly receiving feedback reduces the need to interact with people.
In response to this reality, one of RMS’ many goals is to develop and nurture the next generation of team players. A cooperative learning experience can be a stimulating and wholesome one for our students. When students work together with peers, they are compelled to bring to the table all of their social skills. They must actively listen to each other, articulate ideas and learn to criticise respectfully and constructively in order to become effective team players. Working together and cooperating with one another becomes the only way to achieve their common goal. Of course, as in any situation, conflicts may arise between team players, but cooperatively learning may also lend itself to opportunities for students to build on their skills for conflict resolution, which indeed is an important skill required in any atmosphere.
Working in a group can also benefit students tremendously on a personal level. They can find self-worth in a group setting as they contribute to the project and share their unique ideas, which can build student confidence and self-esteem. Furthermore, as each individual student brings his/her own unique ways of knowing and being to any learning experience, cooperative learning opens students’ minds to new ideas and ways of thinking.
As the results of cooperative learning becomes more distinct in the grand scheme of learning, it becomes evident that a student’s learning does not just occur by working through the project, but also by explaining his/her thought processes and reasoning to others. Team players in a group project naturally foster problem-solving and reasoning skills. When students work together, they learn to use their critical thinking and evaluation skills as a group. An effective team will identify the values of efficiency and delegate responsibilities according to each individual’s strengths, thereby maximizing the potential and abilities of each team member.
Now who said that networking, project managing and team building will begin later on in the work force? The classroom is the work force of tomorrow. It is where we give birth to the next generation of entrepreneurs and corporate workers, and we at Rowntree Montessori Schools are busy doing exactly that!
We look forward to seeing you and sharing with you the private school community of which we are so proud!