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Collaboration Between Students

Tory Stout

Collaboration Project Paper

May 2, 2017

Purpose of Project:

Collaboration between students starts at a young age in the classroom. There are multiple

strategies used to make this cooperative learning the most effective, and hopefully beneficial for

students’ learning. In secondary education and as students get older, they are asked more and

more to participate in group work. However, also as these students are getting older,

collaboration can be harder to implement depending on the classroom and environment.

Collaboration is also affected by the relationships between not only the students, but the students

and teacher as well.

While collaboration between students is great for a student’s learning, it is important that

it is implemented correctly. When this happens, students work together to support each other as

well as themselves in a classroom. Through this process, they are strengthening their social skills

as well as their metacognition. It is important to recognize the relationship students have with

collaboration to make it effective and useful for students all throughout their education career.

When creating this project, I used the practicum class I was placed in this semester. This

class is a Special Education Language Arts class. There is a total of ten students and they are

split up into two groups of five. In the classroom, group work is a main component of their

learning. However, I found that when these students were in group work, there were a few issues.

Students were not on task when engaging in group work because they didn’t know where to start.

They would also argue over which slides each student would be in charge of, and each student

wanted the “easy” slides. When the students did work on a project, they would not collaborate on

their ideas. As a result, the power points would not be cohesive and they would not make sense.

Literature Review:

The key to collaboration is that the students are still finding their own answers, but they

are using each other as resources and support in order to help them arrive at those answers. This

social support gives the student the ability to then self-reflect and elaborate with a responsive,

questioning partner (Higgins, L., Flower, L., & Petraglia, J, 1992). The fact that students are able

to work together to support each other as well as themselves is a topic that should be explored

and used more exclusively in classrooms. When asked, “do you think it is important for students

to take part in cooperative learning? Why or why not?”, the teacher I worked with this semester

replied, “It is extremely important for all students to participate in cooperative learning. They

learn social norms, taking responsibility, and being accountable. They learn how to work

respectfully, negotiate, and compromise. It also helps cover some of the standards for speaking

and listening,” (Castillo, 2017).


For the collaboration project, I decided I wanted to focus on the power point projects my

practicum students completed quite frequently. To do this, I started by implementing roles and

rules. I decided to keep it simple, so I established two basic rules for each group of five students.

They were to listen to everyone’s input and to be respectful of group members. I thought that

these two rules encompassed other smaller rules within them and were a great baseline to start

with. In order to help with the organization and cohesive-ness of group work, I decided to assign

roles to each group member.

The roles were: on task manager, organizer, recorder, artist, and time keeper. These roles

would be rotated once a week. The task manager is responsible for what it sounds like, making

sure everyone in the group is on task. The organizer’s job is to organize the power point in ways

that made sense. The recorder writes down the ideas the group has regarding the power point, as

well as any questions that they may have for the teacher. The artist looks up art to decorate the

slides. Finally, the time keeper tells the rest of the group when it is time to wrap up for the day. It

is important to note that while the students each have their own roles, they are still responsible

for looking up content related to the topic. They are expected to work together and share their

ideas regarding the content, and use the roles to help them with this process.


After these roles and rules were implemented, there was a significant difference in the

way students participated in group work. Students knew what was expected of them and because

of this, the time that it took to get started on a task was significantly less than before. Lastly, the

process of creating presentations was more cohesive and organized. As a result of this, the power

point presentations made more sense. However, it is important to note that the teachers still had

to assign specific slides to each student for them to complete. The students were unable to fairly

divide tasks among themselves and still needed assistance to make sure everyone was getting the

same amount of work.


Based on the students I was working with in my practicum, I think it was a great idea to

start off by implementing roles and rules for them to follow. This gave them structure and

consistency, which I think is what they needed. However, as stated in the results, the students

still had trouble working together to assign slides and other tasks fairly. If I had time to continue

with this project, this would have been the next step. In order for this to work successfully, the

students need to have a fairly strong relationship with one another. This way they can trust that

everyone is going to contribute to the slides that they are assigned. It takes strong classroom

management and a solid learning environment for this to happen. I would have liked to look into

these relationships more.



Arends, R. (2015). Cooperative Learning. In Learning to Teach (tenth ed.). McGraw-Hill


Castillo, L. Student Collaboration Interview. [Personal Interview].

Higgins, L., Flower, L., & Petraglia, J. (1992). Planning text together: The role of critical

reflection in student collaboration. Written communication, 9(1), 48-84.

Lazonder, A. W. (2005). Do two heads search better than one? Effects of student collaboration

on web search behaviour and search outcomes. British Journal of Educational

Technology, 36(3), 465-475