Episode 11 Collaborative Approaches with Joel Anderson

In this episode, I interview Joel Anderson – Head of PDHPE at Newcastle High School, to discuss collaborative approaches in the classroom. Joel shares some of his approaches including the “Huddle and Pod” approach and discusses the importance of providing structure to the collaboration to ensure each student has a role. We also explain how collaborative approaches help students prepare for a life of learning as they prepare for life beyond the classroom.

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Collaborative Approaches with Joel Anderson by Daniel Jackson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

What are collaborative approaches?

  • The have students working together in groups of 2 or more
  • They are structured with students working together with each student having a role
  • They are situations where students work together towards the same goals
  • The tasks should require high cognitive skills requiring collaboration. See this article on Collaboration and Cognitive load for more detail

Huddle and Pod approach

Much like the jigsaw method. In this approach, students have a huddle – a group which is always the same for the whole term and they work together towards goals and discuss their learning together. The pods change each time but they are your groups that focus on the same activity or piece of content that once mastered is brought back to their huddle.

How do collaborative approaches help create life long learners?

  • Students develop people skills that can be used for learning later in life
  • Students are forced to take on a learning role and a teaching role while also working with others to expand their perspectives a begin to understand others viewpoints
  • Students begin to experience success in learning and realise they do not have to have all the answers, just be willing to find them.

Where can you start

  • Start small and “dip your toe in”
  • pair discussion
  • Group work or research task
  • Evaluate how everything goes and adjust your approach
  • Make sure students have a role in the learning
  • Let go of the reins and let the class be noisy… be comfortable in the uncomfortable.

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