May 22, 2013
21st Century Learning & Innovation Skills
Communication & Collaboration
According to the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, learning and innovation skills are increasingly being recognized as the skills that separate students who are prepared for complex life and work environments in the 21st century and those who are not. Among these skills are communication and collaboration.
Communication involves the ability to articulate thoughts and ideas effectively using oral, written and nonverbal communication skills in a variety of forms and contexts as well as using communication for a range of purposes (for example, to inform, instruct, motivate and persuade).
Collaboration involves the ability to work effectively and respectfully with diverse teams and exercising flexibility and willingness to be helpful in making necessary compromises to accomplish a common goal.
Here are some ideas for developing your students’ ability to communicate clearly and collaborate effectively with others.
Say It Any Way
The act of communicating involves verbal, nonverbal and paraverbal components. The verbal component refers to the content of the message‚ the choice and arrangement of words. The nonverbal component refers to the message sent through body language. The paraverbal component refers to how something is said—the tone, pacing and volume of voices. This communication skills resource offers ideas to help students understand how these three components are used to send clear, concise messages and to receive and correctly interpret messages sent to them.
Hug or Handshake?
Students are constantly communicating with others as well as receiving communications from others. Yet they may not be fully aware of all of the messages they are sending through nonverbal communication. This free, downloadable lesson from the Center for Experiential Learning, Leadership and Technology (CELLT) aims to help students adapt their nonverbal communication strategies in order to convey the message they would like the receiver to hear.
CELLT also provides a free, downloadable Verbal Versus Nonverbal Communication Rubric for evaluating students’ verbal and nonverbal communication skills in the following categories: Discussion, Communication Strategies, Presentation and Reflection.
More Power Than Point
This interactive from the BBC helps students to learn skills for different types of communications so that they’ll be able to communicate easily and confidently. Activities involve talking face to face with people at home; talking on the telephone, buying bus or train tickets, going to stores and talking to staff, sending text messages from a mobile device, writing letters or emails, arranging to meet friends and taking part in interviews.
It Takes a Team
The University of Missouri’s eThemes website offers suggestions for games, activities and lesson plans to encourage team building among elementary school students. The resources include indoor and outdoor activities, and cross-curricular lesson ideas. Many of the activities can be adapted for different age groups.
Together We Can
Active participation in cooperative learning activities helps students improve their social skills and provides greater use of higher-level thinking skills and increased appreciation for different points of view. Cooperative learning is not just “group work”; students learn together in producing group projects. Cooperative learning can be used as an integral part of your classroom management plan and at every stage of your lessons. Check out the cooperative learning ideas in the lessons provided by A to Z Teacher Stuff.
Reach Out GloballyThe Teddy Bear Project is an accessible place to begin global collaboration. The aim of the project is to help students foster tolerance and understanding of cultures other than their own. After you register, a facilitator matches your class with a partner class. The classes send each other a Teddy Bear or other soft toy by airmail through the normal postal system. The bear sends home diary messages by email at least once a week. Students write the diary messages as if they are the visiting bear describing its experiences in the new culture. The project offers opportunities for authentic writing by providing students with a real audience.