Teaching Tips

The power of two

Collaboration is a strategy I often implement in my courses to allow students time to process what they’re learning, to learn new ideas or ideas different from their own, or to build and maintain classroom community.  I plan projects, assignments, or discussions with collaboration in mind.  Essentially, I make it a fundamental activity in my course.   

This got me thinking.  If I promote collaboration in my courses, I must find it valuable.  So why, then, do I not deliberately make collaboration a part of my planning?  Why do I not designate time to bounce ideas off of a peer?  Well, it occurred to me that it’s not that I don’t want to, but I often feel like I do not have “time.”  Although, someone once told me if you do not make the time, you will not have the time. 

Well today I happened to be talking to a colleague, and I planted a seed of asking for any resources she had about having students write book reviews.  While this exchange was short and sweet, I realized that this collaboration allowed me to interact with a peer and reflect even more on my class and a future assignment.  My colleague was able to send me some resources, and while I have not decided whether or not to use them, I am able to think differently about the assignment, thus improving my teaching and their learning.

Even if you’re not able to have a formal collaboration session with a colleague about a course or assignment, sometimes just the quick interactions of collaboration will spark new insights or ideas.  This experience reminded me that the power of two is better than the power of one. 

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