Building a Culture of Collaboration

“As the world becomes even more interconnected, it will need more people who know how to collaborate.”  ~ OECD / Program for International Assessment (PISA) results, Collaborative Problem Solving, 11/17

Dear Friends of LEAPS,

At LEAPS we believe that if children are to have a leg up on the future, they must learn to collaborate as young people. Our programs focus on teaching kids the skills they’ll need to work with others – in school and in their communities. Last week our camp group designed and created a large-scale mural of Maine animals.

This week’s campers are inventing a collaborative guide to the Preserve. They began their efforts this morning by taking a close look at Langais’ remarkable outdoor sculptures. Children dove into the project, and choosing a piece that attracted their attention, each one made a sketch and a collage of that work of art.

Working together is critical in our world and for our children. An international study of collaborative problem solving in 53 countries – the first of its kind, by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, reports that the majority of kids think collaboration is important. More than 85% of students surveyed believe that they listen effectively, cooperate in the classroom, and welcome their classmates’ success. Girls, more than boys, value relationships, while boys more often see the benefit of teamwork

“In order to work effectively in a team and achieve something in a collaborative fashion, boys must be able to listen to others and take their viewpoints into account.” (Nov. 2017 report from PISA Volume V) 

Here are some of the study’s conclusions: Children in a diverse classroom have stronger collaborative skills. Those who play video games outside of school score slightly lower than those who do not; while those who access the internet score better than those not connected. Kids who work in the household or take care of family members value relationships and teamwork more than those who don’t.

Political scientist, Robert Putnam puts it this way. “We are born with ‘bonding social capital.” What he’s saying is that we start out with family connections and early relationships, and share a common sense of purpose. Yet maintaining and growing these skills over time requires trust in one another and institutions. We must continue to build bridges between ourselves and those with different points of view.

Here’s what got my attention. Just 8% of students successfully tackle complex problem-solving. This requires juggling group dynamics, working with issues and resolving them.

This is where LEAPS’ programs make a difference. We think that the more decisions children make in a group, the more practice they have reaching consensus. LEAPS’ kids value different perspectives and can find a path between two points of view.

Giving kids the time and tools to become collaborators means giving them a chance to test strategies. In the process they become part of a culture of collaboration.

Together this week’s campers will determine how to weave their individual “studies” into a guide book that has meaning for them and for visitors to Langlais!

We welcome new campers on this adventure with us.  Nancy, for the LEAPS’ Team ~ Susan, Cynthia, and our intern, Morgan

3 thoughts on “Building a Culture of Collaboration

  1. Collaboration is a learned skill. Congratulations to LEAPS for calling out, reminding us what is the essence of a community – large or small, the essence of learning and living, and the essence being at one and with the other. Merci.

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