Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning is an educational approach of using group tasks to enhance learning through working together. The approach has enabled our students to engage actively and take ownership of their learning. As a year group, it has been our continuous endeavour to understand the educational research and best practices available worldwide. We used this knowledge to plan and implement effective online collaborative activities to provide the best learning experience to our students. At The St. Stephen, it is our continuous endeavour to deliver high quality teaching and learning to our students. Firmly believing that collaboration is an essential life skill, we are determined to provide more opportunities for collaborative learning to develop the social, emotional and cognitive abilities of our students.

The Hunger of Learning

Learning is not exclusive to the realm of humans or the processes of learning. I mention this because many across the world have a fixed mindset when it comes to the expectations around the mechanisms of gaining an education, or learning. Throughout the following centuries, institutional learning followed a similar route with little acknowledgement that learning can be in many forms, from many avenues. Parents, regardless of when in history, teach children values, how to navigate the world of good and evil, and much, much more. Friends and family influence children for good or bad either purposefully or by chance. Within the maelstrom of learning opportunities from all quarters of life, which is the most important, or which can be sacrificed?

Learning during COVID-19

A worldwide pandemic was rapidly spreading and getting closer home. Amidst chaos, confusion and caution, the country went into lockdown and we were all forced to work remotely. I have romanticised the notion of working from the comfort of my home many times – dressed in jammies and wearing my glasses with copious amounts of tea and music on the side to keep me going. But is it really the same when you have to switch to remote working not out of choice but due to volatile circumstances?All our lives we have been conditioned to dress for the occasion to make the right impact. No matter how we are feeling, we are expected to get up, dress up and show up. In many ways, it reflects a person who has their act together. This line that defines the differentiation between going out and winning, and staying in and taking it easy appears to be getting blurred. That feeling of getting out to take on the world seems to be missing for me right now.

Acknowledging kindness

A staple of every school that I have taught in is the staff farewell session on the final day. Last year was no different. As the speeches started rolling in, one theme emerged and that was the theme of kindness and acknowledgement. It was great to acknowledge our peers who helped us and learnt with us but the ‘feel good’ factor was how kind and generous everyone was. It made me think about the role of kindness in schools. Am I kind? What does that actually mean? How does that look in practice? Is kindness only talking to everyone softly? Is it just being concerned for someone when they are in your class or in front of you? Can we tap into kindness to help our wards become better learners? In the current climate and during these difficult times, instilling kindness is of the utmost importance but it all starts with you.

Embracing Failure

We are all afraid to fail. Sometimes it matters a great deal, of course. No one wants the structural engineer of that new flyover to fail. However, even in day to day life, we can often shy away from situations that could lead to failure, worried that it will be followed by embarrassment or ridicule. Growth mindset is a way of thinking where we see possibility instead of limitation, and failures are a valuable opportunity for learning. We find inspiration in the success of ourselves and others, and judge our merits based on the work that gets us to the answer, instead of relying on the correctness of the answer only. Take risks in the company of others: Put aside the fear of failure and take the chances that will allow you to evolve. Cultivate grit: Never give up, no matter how hard the road gets. Replace the word failing with learning: Change your mindset about failure. It isn’t a roadblock, it is growth.


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