Working Together: Discovering The Value Of Collaboration

Who invented the lightbulb? Thomas Edison, right? Or so we think. Popular retellings of the story tend to conveniently leave out the other key players: Joseph Swan, Henry Woodward, Mathew Evans, William Sawyer, and Albon Man. Without these competitors and Edison’s team of researchers, the world might not have gotten to enjoy the electric lightbulb so soon.

As some say, ‘It takes teamwork to make the dream work’. Today, schools and workplaces are beginning to see the importance of collaboration for increased learning, productivity, and creativity. Take the Canadian International School in Singapore, for example – at the IB education school, students are given ample opportunities to learn through collaborative work like STEAM projects and outdoor excursions.

While the advantages of collaboration at the workplace seem evident, how can children and teens benefit from their collaborative experiences in school? Apart from preparing them for a team-based workplace, collaboration amongst students can also be a boon to their development and learning in more ways than one. Let’s take a look:

Synergy effect

When the whole is more than the sum of its parts, you know you’ve got a good collaboration going. Group work shouldn’t just be splitting up the tasks and putting the completed portions together at the end. It should involve members building upon each other’s strengths and ideas, so that the final product is better than if any one individual were to attempt the same project.

This synergistic effect is the magic that makes collaboration so valuable. However, whether or not synergy is present also very much depends on the group dynamics and how the team executes the work.

Gain new perspectives

Everybody comes with their own background and ways of thinking. Being in a group allows individuals to be exposed to different perspectives that they may have never considered. This can be a very humbling experience for members when they realise their own views are so myopic.

Considering an issue from various points of view will also help the group to come up with a solution that is more robust and comprehensive. As you can imagine, this can be very crucial for problem-solving or crafting strong arguments.

Improve social skills

When students embark on group projects, they learn how to navigate working relationships. Making friends and doing a project together can be vastly different, where in the latter, members need to manage their working styles to work towards a common goal.

They will learn how to communicate ideas, feedback, and instructions to be tactful yet productive. All these will be useful skills for when they need to work in a team-based setting in higher education and at work.

Raise confidence

Shy children always find it hard to voice their opinions in class, which may make some of them feel neglected or like their views are not valued. Being in smaller groups provides a less intimidating setting for these students to voice their perspectives.

Group projects may just be the platform they need to feel included, and let them raise their confidence in expressing themselves.

That’s why it is so important to have kids exposed to the notion of teamwork from a young age. It is not just about schools giving kids a lot of group work opportunities, but also about having teachers to guide children to learn how to collaborate effectively.

If you’re on the lookout for schools for your child, don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for international high schools or primary schools in Singapore that have a strong collaborative culture. With ample platforms to collaborate with their peers, perhaps your child will grow one step closer to making a groundbreaking discovery like Thomas Edison and his formidable team!