Making your move in a Collaboration: Tips to enhance your team to gel

Collaborations in learning and teaching are very common. We can consider them to be a part of the learning environment from the perspective of both being a teacher and a learner. Common scenarios include:


a. Planning for curriculum in teams

b. Collaborating to seek funding

c. Collaborations on a project that is design dot benefit learning experiences


a. Collaborating on a group assignment or task

b. Cooperative learning opportunity or activity

c. Team activities that are driven by a learning focus

BUT from either perspective, learner or teacher, we often find that these collaborations are hindered by circumstances that don’t always mean the groups experience is positive.  In any of these scenarios it has not been uncommon to hear some common complaints about “I hate working in teams as I always end up doing all the work” or “collaborations never work, they are just a waste of time”.

Making your move in a collaboration ("Community Chess Players" N.Lemon, San Fran, 2012)

Making your move in a collaboration (“Community Chess Players” N.Lemon, San Fran, 2012)

What do we have to consider when collaborating with others in the teaching and learning environment? Here are my top tips to enhance your team to gel:

1. Establish common agreements for participation.

2. Encourage open communication that is not centered on pointing out what someone is not doing but rather focuses on the needs/wants of you as a learner and group member.

3. Establish specific roles for all group members and make sure the responsibilities associated to those roles are understood.

4. Highlight mutual respect for differing opinions and approaches and appreciate what each individual can bring to the group.

5. Appreciate differing opinions and highlight the strength of difference skills, ways of seeing and perspectives as a way to enhance the group dynamics and collaboration rather than focusing on negative enablers or judgmental putdowns.

6. Value your team members and collaborators and make sure they know how and why you appreciate working with them.

Do you have any other tips you could recommend? What do you find assist you as a learner? How do you focus working in a team as a teacher?  

You may also be interested in these related posts:

Making personal connections to help with content exploration and working together

Hottest 5: What are your Top Five learning and teaching strategies?

Can you fail your friends?

A few Tweets away – connecting, listening, sharing, participating and creating

A PLN: Friends…with Benefits

Mountain bike riding and online learning communities: Parallels of skills and participation


One thought on “Making your move in a Collaboration: Tips to enhance your team to gel

  1. Delia Horwitz says:

    You’ve given some great tips. I would add a tip about making sure you are in the collaborative part of your brain — the Pre Frontal Cortex (PFC). If someone’s Amygdala has triggered them into fight, flight or flee, they won’t be as able to care about the others. We talk about this and give lots of practical tips in our book COLLABORATION SOUP, an din our free Nov 2011 A Taste of Collaboration E-Tips Newsletter

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