Collaborative learning involves the process of ‘symbiosis’, or mutual benefit. An incident from my school days illustrates this concept perfectly.
When I was in the eleventh standard, I was not particularly fond of Physics. No amount of encouragement from my parents or teachers helped. I had decided that Physics was just not for me.
I came across some students from my class, who had similar thoughts about Biology. One day one of them approached me and asked for my help with a particularly difficult concept. It took me all of thirty minutes to explain it to them and I left feeling incredibly self-satisfied. I found that this also helped reinforce what I’d already learnt.
What started as a group of two, slowly grew into a family of seven. We would have regular sessions, where everyone helped each other study. Physics was no longer as much of a challenge for me, and all of our grades steadily began improving.
Looking back, I realize that this experience unleashed a whole array of opportunities our way.
What is Collaborative Learning?
Collaborative learning focuses on one another’s knowledge and skills unlike the traditional form of learning, where one imparts the knowledge and the others solely depend on it. As the popular proverb goes ‘two heads are better than one‘, the concept revolves around positive interdependence and benefits all who are involved.
Scientific surveys provide evidence that collaborative learners not only retain information longer than those who study alone, but it also promotes active interaction among the learners. A sense of accountability to one another increases the chance of the others succeeding when one succeeds. Collaborative learning also helps in developing a person’s sense of responsibility, self-esteem, and leadership skills. Letting learners handle their own issues, prepares them for the real world outside.
The terms collaborative learning and peer teaching/peer learning go hand in hand. Although not the same, both of these concepts have a similar goal, that is, to make learning easier, interesting, and efficient. Individual interaction not only enhances the quality of communication but also provides a scope for better expression in peer teaching. Here, as both the teacher and the student follow a similar discourse, it benefits both.
Peer learning enables the students to feel more comfortable and open towards the teacher as they can relate more to the peer teachers. Peer teaching ensures an active interaction and thus, substantial knowledge gain on the part of the student, besides also helping the teacher revise or go through his or her learning. Peer teaching allows those involved, to make strategies and rules of their own, and to practice these during the teaching/learning sessions. Making rules of their own, allows them to learn from their own mistakes.
How we're Involved
This is where Involve plays a crucial role. We train and mentor students between 12 and 16 years of age, to teach their juniors and provide academic support to students from 4-8th grade through peer teaching. Involve empowers learners by helping them shed off unnecessary pressure and regain their interest. We also capacitate young student teachers with leadership abilities and self-dependence, which is pivotal in the long run. Involve also helps in developing the personalities of both the peer teacher and the learner, which is crucial to motivate them to take charge of their lives and be independent.
Peer teaching/peer learning, therefore, can affect the learning outcomes of students and change it for the better.
About the Writer
Tiyasa Mukherjee is an undergraduate student, pursuing journalism and mass communication from Calcutta University. Being an introvert, writing helped her a lot in expressing herself and she became determined to reach out to those who were in need just like her.
Involve envisions a world where students are trusted, informed and empowered so that they can make decisions to become the best version of themselves. Currently, Involve provides students with opportunities to teach and learn from each other to develop future-ready skills.