13. September 2013 00:30
Social skills are not inherent and needs hard work for development. School and teacher should do their duty in development of child and to teach them ability of using these skills in real life. Students develop social skills by collaborative learning. Students that are in collaborative groups study not only various disciplines in academic program, but also learn interpersonal relationship skills. Studying social skills is the requirement for academic success: more they learn the art of mutual aid in study, more their attendance is better. Therefore, establishing social skills happens in collaborative situations, where task should be done jointly.
Four different types of skills that are necessary for collaborative learning
- Skills that are the simplest rules of behavior. Without such skills, it is hard to say concerning collaboration and creative group;
- Skills that are necessary in the process of work for active involvement of all members of group and for maintenance of productive work relations;
- Skills of cognitive, motivated attitude for acquiring knowledge;
- Skills that stipulate creative and critic approach to knowledge. Skills of logical thinking and intellectual solving of conflicts, searching additional information and finding rational kernel in different views.
Teaching the rules of behavior
Establishment of collaborative groups is impossible without the following rules of behavior and they are the skills of elementary norms of politeness:
- Enter in the class without sound and do not hinder others;
- Be with your group until work is not over;
- Speak in a low voice, never raise voice;
- Wait for your turn.
Skills for active work of all members of group
These skills are more difficult. They provide workability of group and labor relations within it:
- The skill to share own ideas and opinions. Members of Group should share to each other everything that is necessary to effective process of work;
- The skill to put right questions around the facts and to give argumentative answers, as for to assure that everyone understand learning material, students should be able to question each other, to explain their own answers. This will help them in correcting mistakes and will help them in right perception of material;
- The skill to direct work process rightly and to control the performance of collective work, for an instance, to remind friends continuously about what should have to be done: “they expect from us…”; to focus on the fact that time is limited: “could we have a time for this?”; and suggest of more rational sentence: “better to try this?;
- The skill to encourage friends and to involve in the process of work. It is important to ask friend what he/she thinks about it. At that moment he will see own importance for common work and will feel that they respect his/her opinion;
- The skill to ask other for assistant and to explain. This is important skill for collaborative study which should know every member of group;
- The skill to aid and to support a friend. Aid may be as well as verbal, nonverbal communication;
- The skill of paraphrasing friend’s responses. This will help students to elucidate how much correctly they do understand each other’s opinions;
- The skill to make group ready for work even when members of group have no motivation for performance of work. Student should engage friends in collaboration with personal example.
Motivate attitude and conscious skills for gaining knowledge
The skill to form own opinion is closely depended on development of thinking of student. Without it, logical thinking is impossible. As the aim of collaborative teaching is to realize creative potentials of all students, we should focus on developing special skills without of which absorbing information is impossible. These skills are:
- Skills of interpreting and generalizing. Oral exercises help students to develop such skill and it helps you to interpret accurately read text. Narration should reveal all main aspects and ideas which is contained in text;
- Skills of establishing own ideas accurately. It is important that members of group should fill conclusion of their friends, correct and to establish clearly their own position.
- Skill to connect new information to learned one;
- Skill to help friends in searching the right and reliable methods for memorizing facts and theories. Illustration for example – drawings, pictures and other real subjects which will simplify memorizing (“This can me memorized in that way..”);
- Skill to examine if group friends understand studying material. This skill can be learned only when each member of group tell what he/she has learned at the moment and the rests are listening attentively and fill his/her narration.
Skills that determine creative and critic approaches to knowledge
In order to acquire critical thinking and to show initiative, student must learn skills that give opportunity to participate in analyses of various theories and hypothesis, in solving intellectual conflicts, will help to find additional information and rational kernel in opponents’ views. One of the best ways to develop these skills is the event that collaborative group members should participate in discussion, to discuss different views and to share each other’s opinions. Participation in such intellectual disputes, students will deeply understand the essence of problem will search new information, will produce constructive dispute with colleagues having different views.
Skills that is impossible without creative and critic approaches of knowledge
Such type of skills includes:
- Skill to criticize ideas and not people. It is very important to provoke group friend in “intellectual fight”, to force him/her to search arguments, but without insulting his/her personality (“Despite the fact that I respect you, I cannot agree with you in this case…”);
- Skill to define the difference between your opinion and your friend’s opinion ("In particular, what is the difference between our opinions?”). Until you participate in discussion, you should know which is difference;
- Skill to establish unified position on basis of different views by integrating. After you will understand the difference of view of one part from the view of another part, students will establish the concept as far as possible, which will be acceptable to everyone (“Do all agree with such construction?” “Does this include everyone’s opinion?”);
- Skill to present your position with arguments and to demand the same from friends (“please give arguments why you think that this answer is correct”);
- Skill for establishing full (broaden) answers. Members of collaborative group should fill each other’s answer with new information (“Let us remember...”; “I know that...”);
- Skill to put question for the reason to make analyze and deeply understand the material (“Is it connected to our theme?”, “what gives you the grounds to think that…”);
- Skill to establish several answers. Members of Collaborative group should not stop on the easiest answer or superficial conclusion. They should learn to establish several answers (conclusion) and to discuss them further (“Is this answer right?”; “Is this version possible?”).
Only the knowledge that working on social skills is important is not enough. This knowledge will be useless if teacher does not know appropriate methods, does not know how to teach and establish necessary skills in students for effective collective working.