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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Fostering collaboration in the ELT classroom - Dan Vincent and Ben Knight

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good morning good afternoon or good

evening depending where you are in the

world my name is Ben Knight I'm the

director for language research at

Cambridge University Press

and I'm gonna be talking to you today

together with Dan Vincent who's an

experienced teacher in Spain of primary

and secondary school students and by

popular request we've been asked to talk

about collaboration and how we can

integrate the development of

collaboration skills within the ELT

classroom when teaching English and what

we're going to do is we're going to talk

a little bit about what collaboration

skills really means and then we're going

to look at examples of how those can be

integrated into the classroom there's a

chat function where you can add any

questions you've got and we'll try to

answer as many of those as we can at the

end okay so what is collaboration first

of all why is collaboration becoming

such a hot topic why are people asking

for collaboration skills to be

integrated into our English language

courses and lessons well it's really to

do with the changing nature of work work

these days has become so complicated

that it's impossible for individuals to

complete tasks or achieve goals on their

own they need to work collaboratively

with other people who have different

sets of skills this is particularly

important we're seeing this in in in

workplaces which have ambitions to work

in global in global economy and they

need people from different backgrounds

to be working together and working in

teams is just so much more effective if

anybody watched the fantastic mass

between Japan and islands and the Rugby

World Cup last week they'll have seen

Japan with less experienced players

beating the world leaders Island just

through their teamwork and better

collaboration it was a masterclass in

teamwork and

to work together and this is why

employers have been saying around the

world when they are asked what are the

top skills that they want from their

employees or their new recruits

collaboration is always near the top and

even for myself we are recruiting

somebody at the moment and when we look

at what are the things that we're

looking for from new recruits being able

to collaborate well is that the top of

the list so we can see it's important

for the workplace

and many ministries of Education have

identified this as being an essential

skill that the education system has to

develop among their students and this is

why you're seeing it increasingly in

national curriculum and then that's

being passed on to the stiches of

different subjects how can you if you

are teaching maths or sciences or

English how can you help to develop

collaboration skills amongst your

students and that's quite difficult for

teachers and there's the number of

reasons why it's difficult first of all

understanding what is meant by

collaboration and then secondly thinking

how that can be integrated into the

teaching of English without taking time

away from learning the language so at

the top level the definition is the one

you can see on the screen collaboration

is where people work together to

complete a task or achieve a goal and

what you can see from there are three

important points first of all that you

need two or more people to be working

together you need to have a shared task

or a goal and then they need to actually

be working together on achieving that

task or achieving that goal so that

might sound fairly obvious but it's

worth bearing that in mind when we think

about what is a collaborative task right

so just trying to get on to the next

slide so then what we've done is done

quite a lot of research into what makes

effective collaboration and here we've

identified the different skills which

are needed to be an effective

Reiter and we put them together into six

main groups the first one is that each

person who is working on that

collaboration needs to take

responsibility for their own

contribution to the task they need to

know what they're doing they need to be

positive in that contribution and they

need to feel responsible for doing it

well the second set of skills that are

needed for good collaboration is being

able to manage the sharing of tasks and

this includes both and identifying what

the different component tasks are and

then being able to allocate those to

different people within the group and

then being able to check that that is

working that sharing of tasks is working

the third area which is really important

for collaboration is being able to

listen respectfully and openly and this

is often where collaboration breaks down

is that people are not really listening

carefully and openly to what others are

saying the fourth area which links to

that is the way that you respond to

others in a constructive way so

obviously if you're listening opening

the openly and you're trying to

encourage collaboration you need to

respond constructively the fifth area is

managing conflict and conflict of course

doesn't need to mean violence or

anything dramatic but it is a difference

of opinion which is becoming an obstacle

to completing the task and of course the

first step of that is to be able to

identify that there is conflict that

there is a difference of opinion and

then being able to work out how to

manage that how to resolve that

difference of opinion and that relates

to the sixth arrow skill which is to

negotiate and negotiating skills quite

complicated but essentially it's about

understanding the goals of different

people in the group what they're trying

to achieve and what their assumptions

are and being able to try and come to a

common results that everybody is

satisfied with so those are the

underlying skills which are needed to be

a good collaborator to be good at

collaborating now how can you help to

develop those skills in the classroom

well there are two things you need first

in order to be able to to help your

students first of all you need to

understand the component skills which I

was just describing you need to

understand what they are so that you can

then make decisions about what you're

going to focus on in a particular lesson

or activity so it might be that you

decide in this activity you're going to

focus on how you manage the sharing of

tasks in the group and you might be

teaching them a language for that and

practicing doing that the second thing

that you need to be able to help your

students is to understand what they can

learn at each stage of their learning

journey in relation to those skills and

that might sound a little complicated

but it does depend if you're a primary

level collaboration can look very

different to when you're at university

level and so one of the things we've

been doing a Cambridge is trying to

understand exactly that what all the

different skills are and how they

develop throughout that learning journey

and so I'm going to step back a little

bit now and look at the whole framework

the whole approach to life skills in

21st century skills so that you can

understand this a bit better so that's

at the moment we are looking at five

stages of the learning journey where

people are learning they learn a pre

primary or kindergarten that primary

secondary higher education and at work

and the development of these skills

looks different at each of those stages

then what we've done at Cambridge is to

create this framework which shows how

the different life skills or

competencies fit together so that you

can understand what how does

collaboration differ from communication

for example so we've got these six main

areas six main life competencies create

creative thinking critical thinking

learning to learn communication

collaboration and social

responsibilities and then underpinning

those are three important areas

emotional development digital literacy

and discipline knowledge which really

integrate with all of those life

competencies so that's giving you an

overall picture of life skills we then

break down each of those into their

component skills and here you can see

we've done that for each of the six

areas and you see you can see for

collaboration we have four core areas

within collaboration taking personal

responsibility for own contributions to

group tasks which I mentioned at the

beginning listen respectfully and

responding constructively to others

contributions with this is what I

mentioned earlier but it's combined two

of them into one managing the sharing of

tasks and working towards a resolution

for a task which again is putting

together two things I had mentioned

earlier managing conflict and

negotiation so that's the broad picture

and I just want to say one quick word

about the word competences because

sometimes I say skills and sometimes

competencies and what's the difference

well competencies is really the correct

term competencies has three components

it has knowledge what do you need to

know in order to do something well skill

which is the ability to do it well and

fluently and that's really skill is what

you get as a result of practice the more

you practice something the more skill

you have and then attitude is the way of

thinking which is needed to do something


and a competencies when someone has

competency it's that combination of

having the knowledge they need the skill

in doing it fluently and subconsciously

and attitude is what they need to really

make it work

and that's what we're aiming for when we

talk about competences so what we have

is a framework at Cambridge which

combines the different types of

competency creative thinking social

responsibilities etc and breaks those

down and then looks at how they develop

from pre-primary to at work and the way

that we manage that the way that we

capture how each of those competencies

develops along the learning journey is

by using can-do statements now can-do

statements describe what someone can do

with each of those skills at each stage

so let's take an example with in

collaboration one of those core areas

was listening respectfully and

responding constructively to others

contributions now what does that look

like for pre-primary well I've got a - a

couple of example can-do statements

first one allows others to finish

speaking before sharing own ideas and

then second one is extends and

elaborates play ideas for example

building up a roleplay with other


these are things which demonstrate

collaboration skills at pre primary

stage so this is your pre primary

teacher you might be thinking think this

is the kind of thing I want to be able

to develop among my students if we look

at primary how does that same competency

that same area of competency develop

well we can see these can do statements

focuses on the content of group talk

from start to finish

so they don't lose focus on what the

group is talking about they learn how to

interrupt others politely and they learn

how to risk

positively to what others say about the

group task they're doing we look at

secondary we see acknowledges and agrees

with others ideas we also want them to

learn to give their opinion on other

students contributions respectfully and

a third can do is helping students to

build on other students contributions by

adding examples or further related ideas

if you're working at high school level

sorry at higher education level at

university the candor statement could be

responds in an open-minded way to

different ideas including those which

represent an opposing point of view or

acknowledges other points of view before

presenting the counter-argument and then

if you are teaching people at work

candor statements might be more related

to work lack of context interrupting

people in meetings or acknowledging

contributions of others in a meeting so

what you can see let me just go back a

little bit when you get what you can see

here is that from the framework we're

able to identify what are the different

components skills to developing

collaborative competency and we can also

use the can dues to think about what we

want students that are particularly vil

to be able to do by the end of their

teaching by the end of their course now

how can we integrate these into English

language teaching as I said at the

beginning a lot of ministries now are

expecting teachers to integrate this

into the teaching of their subject and

that's what we're going to look now and

Dan is going to look at that I'm just

going to talk about three high-level

approaches to that first of all that as

teachers you need to be looking for

opportunities to focus on those specific

skills in shared activities you could

also be practicing the language needed

to use those skills and a third

is to reflect on those skills before and

after doing an activity which requires

collaboration so those are three general

approaches but for real good examples

I'm going to hand over to to Dan now

just let us switch over control I'm in

Cambridge but Dan is in Madrid so we're

just going to do a little bit of

coordination collaboration okay

Thank You Ben I just like to say I'm

going to talk you through some practical

ideas and if anyone has any questions

either for Ben or for me or for both of

us we'll try our best to answer those at

the end of the session okay so I'm just

going to give you an outline first what

I'm going to talk about in the second

half of the webinar we're going to look

at you just pair work and collaboration

some simple ideas for making pair work

more collaborative and bringing out some

of the skills they've been some of the

competencies that Ben talked about and

then project work and collaboration I'm

sure many of you do project work with

your students some of you may do it

quite frequently and it's a great way to

to develop students collaborative

competencies so we're going to look at

some examples of that focusing on the

process the collaborative process of the

project and then the language needed to

develop those collaborative skills and

we're going to look at four examples one

is building robots not real robots so

don't get too excited co-creating

stories designing infographics and then

creating questionnaires and presenting

results and I'll talk you through those

and then I'd like to talk a little bit

at the end about self assessment and

reflection which was one of the things

Ben mentioned towards the end there okay

so I'm sure many of you are familiar

with pair work and you do pair work with

your students quite frequently you have

them talk together chat together

practice a language point together

discuss something together and power can

very easily be made more collaborative

so I'm going to give you an example of

what I mean here's a typical discussion

question from this is one that I've done

with my secondary students and also with

adults where we're talking about

education and the question is how useful

are these subjects discuss with a

partner now it's an open-ended question

it's not a yes/no question they're not

asked are these subjects useful or not

they're asked how useful are they so

they have two that opens up the

discussion but as it stands it's not

particularly collaborative they can

simply take turns to say their opinion

however if you simply add a very simple

task so here the task is decide together

which of the five most useful subjects

and place them in order in importance

make sure you justify your ideas to one

another the task immediately becomes

more collaborative and they have to do

something together then talk to the

beginning of a shared task or a shared

goal the goal here is to come up with a

list that they both agree on I and in a

very quick and easy way a discussion

activity is turned into a collaborative

activity this is one idea that you can

use for air work another one that some

some of you may have tried in class is

to order the sentences in the dialogue

so here for example is one I've done

with various classes I've simplified it

for this webinar work with a partner put

these sentences in order to make a

conversation at the tourist information

center here are the sentences out of

order now as it stands the students

could do that task together and it would

be collaborative but they may not

necessarily use collaborative language

to put those sentences into the right

order so I'm going to just show you the

this would be the correct the correct

dialogue that they come up with in order

to make this more collaborative and to

really develop

the collaborative skills that we are

trying to encourage with our students

you also need to give them as been

mentioned the language to do that so

here is some process language by process

language I'm going to be referring to

the process of collaboration and

developing most skills so this is some

very simple language for them to do the

ordering tasks I think this one is first

next last where do you think this goes

where should we put this one what about

this one let's put this one here for now

that doesn't seem right and are you sure

so you have two sets of language you've

got the target language of the class

which in this case would be something to

do with asking for information and a

tourist office and then also the

language that you want to input to allow

them to develop the collaborative skills

and to actually do the collaboration in

English this process language can be

inputted and practiced at an early stage

in the course and then recycled and

reused whenever you want to do this kind

of activity but if you want students to

you really want them to be collaborating

you want to focus on the language as

well that they need and we're going to

look at some more examples of that as I

go through the projects collaborating in

itself been talked about the rugby game

the other day but collaboration could be

everything from organizing the Olympic

games to organizing a picnic with

friends in a park and it calls on all

kinds of sub skills which you will be

familiar with probably from your your

personal lives and your working lives so

for example there's brainstorming

sharing ideas coming up with ideas

negotiation deciding which ideas to

proceed with deciding who does what

decision making are all stages of a

project or a collaborative project

decisions need to be made and they need

to make collectively or any cases and

then there's planning organizing and

also doing whatever is you set yourself

to do planning the picnic for example

organizing the picnic who's going to

bring the food who is going to bring the

drink who is going to invite people

where should it be

etc and then a very important one that

is useful I think we'll all agree

throughout life is scheduling and

timekeeping in in real life in working

life in higher education in our

personalized things are normally done to

time limits and to a deadline and that's

a key skill that we can begin to help

our students develop through

collaborative work in class so project

working class is an ideal way to focus

on developing skills and I just like to

make the point that the English language

classroom is really an excellent an

excellent an excellent venue for

developing the skills that Ben and I are

talking about because all of these

brainstorming negotiation

decision-making planning organizing

scheduling and timekeeping they all

require people to communicate so it's an

ideal place to practice language and

develop skills one at one at the same

time we're going to look at some

projects now hope will give you a

clearer idea of what I mean the first

one giving feedback sorry there was one

more skill that's quite useful

throughout a project and after a project

and we'll look at a little bit about

that later

the first project is one that I've done

with my primary students quite

frequently and it's building robots the

students for about eight or nine years

old and the project was - we had been

studying about robots and reading about

robots and the project was for them to

build a robot I only have pictures of

these two robots because the the others

of the children took home the robots had

- they were made from stationery and

they had to include a special special

function the one on the left

I seem to remember it had a kind of

x-ray vision I'm not really sure what

the orange one was generally with

children they come up with homework

robots robots that will do that homework

for them or clean their room there was a

vegetable eating robot as well that

would eat the vegetables so the children

didn't have to do it so this is very

simple I put the students into groups

usually three four occasionally -

depending on the numbers of students

they have a pile of stationery and the

project is to construct the robot

now the reason I'm focusing on this

project first is I'd like you to take

note of the fact that first of all the

students have a model the model in this

case would be a robot that I made or

some pieces of robot so they have an

idea of what they need to build but also

because the product the output of the

project isn't language based there are

no there's no English in these robots if

there's no English written on them they

don't speak for example so the entire

focus in terms of language and skills

development is on the collaborative

process of deciding how to do the robot

and then building the robot quite often

when we do projects we think a lot about

the product so we are students to write

a story we focus on the language for

writing stories or create a poster we

focus on the language necessary of the

poster but really to to bring the focus

back to developing collaborative skills

we need to look at the process as well

and not only the product so been

mentioned earlier that perhaps you would

focus on one particular competency or

one particular area at a time and in

this case I focused on brainstorming so

before the children could begin to build

their robots they they had to talk

together about how they were going to

build it and try and come up with some

ideas and the seal that I wanted to

focus on was for them to brainstorm and

here are some language they inputted

it's very simple straightforward

language very familiar language for

brainstorming ideas I know why don't we

use the toilet rolls how about making a

robot that eats your vegetables I've got

a good idea I think blue card would be

better because it's more beautiful

that's a good idea but I've got a better


so we inputted this language I did a

demonstration at the front of the class

where we shared ideas for a robot that I

would build so we practiced that but

this gives the children the language

they need to be able to collaborate

in terms of sharing ideas then another

area where we focused is on very simple

making the robot so here you want them

to be deciding things together as they

go sharing ideas as they go giving

feedback to one another as they go

responding to one another as they go and

this again can be really really simple

this is not cognitively challenging or

linguistically challenging language for

primary children first next then

simple imperatives put cut stick fold

some language for sharing the roles let

me make the face

why don't you decorate the head we have

to finish the legs

that looks good etc so the language that

you can input for help actually develop

those skills it can be very very

straightforward it can be very very

useful and it can be adapted very easily

I think to the linguistic and cognitive

level of the students all made more

complicated depending on the class and

the age of the students so that's one

very simple one someone mentioned we had

a question earlier about weaker students

and stronger students I'll try to answer

that now one when children are doing

projects together it's very good if each

of them has either has a role so in this

case I would have encouraged children to

decide to build different parts of the

robot together at some stage or you

compare we constitute stronger students

together to encourage the stronger ones

to help the weak ones and also to help

the weaker ones feel that they have some

support and deciding roles deciding who

does what itself is quite a key

collaborative skill and it's part of the

framework that we looked at earlier

another one I'd like to show you about

with primary is co-writing stories we

were studying fairy stories from around

the world and then the children did a

project where they had to come up with

their own fairy story so I gave them put

children into groups of two three again

for students and gave them a large set

of pictures this is a smaller selection

then you can see on the screen including

a photo of me when I was younger that's

the photo not the wizard and the

children before they could even start to

write they had to decide together which

pictures they were going to use in their

story so which elements they were going

to include in their story we had

essentially groups of three students but

I told them they had to decide ten

pictures that was in order for them not

to just take three each and then have

any discussion by by asking them to take

ten that necessitated some discussion

over which the tenth picture should be

and it was quite interesting to watch

the groups of children some of them took

turns they all chose together the first

one then second one together than the

third one to go that others took three

each and then they decided on the tenth

one together but again it was very

important to input the language for them

to be able to do that choosing and

decision making process so here's some

of the language we inputted for that how

about the for example how about the Frog

I like this one because let's use this

one this one is better because we need

one more we need two more that's a good

idea so again very simple language input

but the language that allows them to do

this develop this particular skill which

I've called choosing here but is

essentially decision-making just to give

you a quick idea of the kind of stories

that came up with they were supposed to

make a poster using the pictures but

these two boys drew a picture of what

appears to be the Hulk punching me and

then a very strange story which I'll

just show you once upon a time I can't

I'll let you read that because my screen

is slightly obscured the the story

itself was I'm not going to write to

Netflix and ask them to take this as an

idea for a new series but this project

did have a language output which was the

story but again as you can see there was

the language output in the product but

also the process language of the

decision making okay it was a very silly

story in which I was turned into a sheep

and then sadly killed

I attended two died in most of the

stories the children came up with okay

so those are two collaborative projects

you can do with primary age and I'm sure

you could expand them as well to

secondary as well or even with adults

but we're going to look now at two

projects that I have done with secondary

aged students I'm sure many of you will

have made posters some of you may have

made infographics if you're not sure

what an infographic is it's a a visual

way of presenting numerical or often

complex information and I did a project

about sports that were not yet Olympic

sports and the students were asked to

research a sport which is an established

sport but has not yet been accepted as

an Olympic sport and to prepare a poster

or infographic this is the sport I'm not

sure if anyone recognizes it it's a it's

not only frisbee it's Ultimate Frisbee

which is frisbee in teams which is a

well-established sport but it's not yet

an Olympic sport and he's trying to be

so they had a model this was the model

it's not exactly an infographic because

there's it was I didn't expect them to

be able to design an infographic using

software for example but it does include

some of the features of different text

sizes some icons visual information

numbers instead of figures to help the

reader assimilate that information quite

clearly this could have been a

straightforward project without too much

focus on collaboration if I had just

given it to students and told them find

a sport that's not yet an Olympic sport

go away and make something like this but

to ensure that they had to collaborate

together again these students were put

into groups of three and they were asked

to divide up the sections between them

so one of them would do some research

into the history of the sport

one of them would find out that the

rules another one would find out about

the main tournaments et cetera they

would go away or they went away

they did their individual research and

then they came back and they shared

their findings and then together they

they created the well the post of

infographic so I built into that a stage

where they had to make a decision who

was going to do what and then they'll

have to take responsibility for their

contribution they couldn't not do what

they've been set to do otherwise the

project would would be incomplete and

they wouldn't be able to share anything

with their partners so this was to

encourage them to decide together what

they were going to do and then to

encourage them to take responsibility

for their part I actually set the the

the research part is homework so they

had the extra responsibility of going

home and making sure they came back with

some information to share and then we

decided together as a class which sport

should be making the Olympics and so

that's another idea of how you can build

in a stage which is more collaborative

either a decision making or assigning

roles etc a slightly more complicated

project that I've done with higher level

students is for them to develop a

questionnaire and then to present their

results in this one it was a

questionnaire that they did with their

classmates about close shots in their

town so close shops in Madrid which were

the popular ones which were the cheapest

ones which were the most fashionable

ones and so on and they were going to

get everybody's opinion and then put

that information into graphs and then

share the information they had three

invented shops fleek streets ditching

parker some grass again as models so

they can see what they need to come up

with this is what they will be producing

but this is not where the collaboration

took place the collaboration took place

in the in another stage which I'll show

you now they had

list of questions and they had to decide

which of those questions in their group

they wanted to ask and then also add a

question so they didn't have to make a

questionnaire with all eight of the

questions but they had to select those

questions having done that they then

divided up who was going to ask which

question and then they would then go and

interview their partners so again they

was taking responsibility for their

contribution a stage of negotiating

which questions they wanted in their

questionnaire then deciding who was

going to ask what and then going away

doing something individually so taking

responsibility for their role and then

coming back and sharing what they found

out in order to produce the graphs so

just to recap that this is what the

students had to do but had to decide

which questions they want to ask decide

who is going to ask which ones conduct

the questionnaire compile the results

and then eventually present their

results quite often in collaborative

projects you want students to make you

need to make it very clear to them that

they that they're practicing or you're

the project is intended to help them

develop certain collaborative skills so

for example if you are practicing

decision making or your practice in the

language for sharing ideas or giving

feedback it's really important I think

to make it clear to students that that's

what you're doing and then in the

presentation stage whether it be sharing

the story the fairy story that they

wrote or presenting their robot children

beginning in the class showing everyone

else infographic or presenting their

findings from the questionnaire I also

encourage students to say how well they

collaborated together so did they share

their ideas fairly was it easy to decide

things together was it difficult did

they use the input language so

brainstorming did they use the language

for dividing up roles etc so they know

that at the end they will need to

comment to the class and to the teacher

on that aspect as well so that they know

from the beginning

I think isn't it we can't expect

students to know that they're developing

those skills unless we point out that is

actually a key feature of what we're

trying to do and I think they respond

much better when you say for a student

today we're going to do a project and

we're gonna practice let's say for

example timekeeping we're gonna see how

well you can stick to your time and so

on and where students know that that is

part of the focus of what you're doing

they're more likely to pay attention to

it and then to I think developing

throughout that we've looked at process

language I just like to give you some

more examples there is the brainstorming

language we looked at the beginning

there's also assigning roles deciding

who is going to do what here's some

simple language you can use to help

students do that we need one person or

we need two people to do X who wants to

do X

Lukas why don't you fernandez should do

such-and-such because she's good at


Omar and Kelly could share that so

deciding roars deciding who is going to

do what and some process language to

enable them to do that decision-making

groups making decisions together and

then voting if they're feeling

particularly democratic or deciding in

other ways and there's some language

there for decision making does anyone

else want contribute okay shall we vote

etc I can't see my screen completely

clearly timekeeping a key skill key

skill here's some language that you can

use to help students check that they're

on time and they're on task how much

time do you think that we have to do the

first part or to write the questions how

much time do we have to do the research

how long will it take I think we'll need

20 minutes we've only got 30 minutes

left we need to hurry we're running out

of time

come on and get a move on while we're on

time Kimmy I'd just like to point out

that sometimes you have a student who is

packs and quieter or

or they don't they're not as willing to

collaborate as actively as some of the

others in the group

in in when you have a student like that

you can give them the timekeeping role

so they're in charge of making sure

everyone else is on track you can also

give it to particularly bossy students

as well so they're still involved and

they still have an important role to

play and they're still developing key

skills and they're still contributing

very much to a team effort but they can

maybe be slightly outside of the core

team as it were and in giving feedback

it's always good to get students to

feedback to each other on their project

and also during a project

letting each other know how they feel

about its progress it should be very

positive the language that you input

here should encourage them to be

positive and encourage them to be

constructive so I really like the way

you build the base of the robot I really

like the way you presented your graph

for example so they're trying to say

something positive I was impressed by

such and such was good but I think you

could improve by so again positive

feedback but also constructive and then

why don't you try such-and-such next

time so again the language itself

encourages them there to be constructive

and positive okay finally we're going to

move on to self reflection and

assessment it's really important through

in all kinds of activities but

particularly when you're developing this

kind of key competencies

apart from as well as making students

aware that that is part of what you're

focusing on you really want to encourage

students to think about how well they're

doing or where they need to focus in

future they're not going to become

wonderful timekeepers during one lesson

or during one project they're not going

to necessarily become better at sharing

tasks or listening constructively in

responding constructively in one project

but hopefully throughout the learning

journey or throughout a course if you


a number of times on a particular skill

they will become better and

self-reflection and assessment can be

done at primary and secondary and adult

level I'm just gonna give you a couple

of ideas here for how that can be done

with primary it's best to make it as

kind of visual and graphic as possible

so a very simple if I can find it

graphic would be like this is for how

much English they speak so this is not

particularly tied to collaboration but

is one way you can get the children to

focus on how how much English that

you've been using so they they look

through the Smiley's and they choose one

of the one of the boxes they tick you or

they color it in it's very important by

the way if you have this kind of well

I'll come to that later

anyway four Smiley's here they choose

the the one on the right is looking

quite sad and lonely because he hasn't

spoken in English at all hopefully

they'll be you need to encourage and

develop this over time students tend to

put lots and lots and lots and lots and

lots at first but then they become more

objective once you say well is that true

he was required you didn't use that

language or you can you can help

students become a little bit more

cognizant of actually done in terms of

collaboration you can ask the group to

think together about how they've done so

if primary here's a very simple idea

that I've used where the children

together in their group they answer this

question how well did we do the project

together so they decided they did it

very well

the faces are all happy together well

they're still happy but not quite as

together okay no smiles there but

they're still on the table together and

then if they really haven't worked very

well together

we can do better next time so there are

the sad faces are very much apart there

so again you can encourage them to think

together and that again is a

collaborative activity about how they

did with secondary and higher you can

make more language input so here's a

idea that you can use for the info graph

this is for where they prepare the

infographic about the Olympic sport

I discussed these questions in your

group and decide together between one

and six how well did we research and

planning the graphic together one not

very well six very well and then another

question how easy to understand was

there infographic one not very easy six

very easy so again I have to collaborate

to come up with this score and then a

couple of individual questions they can

answer how well did I contribute to the

project one not very much six a lot and

how much English did I use to do the

project one not very much six a lot this

really needs to be done repeatedly for

them to get used to it

students tend to put very well a lot

very easy fantastic at the beginning but

with time my experience is that they do

become more objective about their own

performance and then you need to make

very clear that this is not a formal

mark they're not going to be penalized

in any way this is purely to help them

reflect on on how they've done in terms

of the skills that you've been trying to

develop and you can refer to their to

their self-assessment from a previous

project when you do the next project so

for example if a particular student in

one projects for how well did that

contribute has put two you can refer

them in the next project okay let's try

to get a higher score this time to

encourage them to contribute and

collaborate more just a quick point with

self-assessment you would have seen I'll

just go back to the primary Smiley's

that there are four and then here there

are also four and here there are six

sorry six options it's always better to

have an even number so not three but

four not five but six and the reason for

that is if you have a one to three

people tend to choose the middle option

because it's safe and they don't really

have to think very hard children

teenagers adults don't have to think

very hard about their answer they

for the one in the middle whereas with

an even number you're forced to to think

and be a bit more honest I think okay so

hopefully those will give you some ideas

of how you can bring an element of

collaboration into class and help

students develop those skills that's the

end of my part we've got some time for

questions if that if anyone has any

questions so either for me or for Ben

well we have Dan thanks very much damn

that was really interesting I really

enjoyed that and I'd love those those

robots I'm just looking through the

questions that are coming through on the

chat line maybe we we can pick up some

of those to begin with there's a there

was a question which you you addressed

to some extent which was around grouping

students on collaborative whether you

should put strong and weak ones together

and was anything more you won't say does

it make more sense to have students at

the same level together or I think that

depends very much on classroom dynamics

which students work well together can

often maybe a deciding factor than

whether they're weak or strong what I

would say is that be very careful to not

make groups too big so if you think that

for example in the infographic there

were really three areas to research so

it wouldn't have made sense to make

groups of four because then one of them

so you always need to think how many

roles are there does it take to do it so

that something to do it could be the

exact six and then they divide into

three pairs but I think one way is to

encourage people to have something

whether you feel they need to then work

with someone is another factor but don't

create groups that make sense

yeah I agree completely and I think from

my own experience I find that it's it's

good to take both approaches that

sometimes to be mixing strong and weak

but not always to do it if it gets to to

routine to do that sometimes that's not

very it doesn't feel very good for the

stronger students so I would mix the

approaches yeah there was another

question about linguistically

challenging versus cognitively

challenging and so actually it's quite

straightforward that difference

linguistically challenging is the

difficulty of the language being used

from like a CFR point of view a1 is

elementary language so how difficult is

the vocabulary in the grammar

cognitively challenging means that the

task itself so some children you know

are too young to really empathize

clearly with other children to be able

to understand and respond constructively

to arguments of others I suppose the way

to think of the cognitively challenging

one is to think even if it was in their

own first language are there aspects of

the task that they would find difficult

and that that's the cognitively

challenging bit very very simple to make

suggestions just let it is enough simple

imperatives for example so you can you

can target the linguistic level very

easily I think yeah yeah there's a

couple of questions which is sort of

similar and it's about having forming

groups and either one person is really

bored and not participating well one

person is really taking the lead so

strongly that the others are just

becoming quite passive


that kind of mimics real life in some

ways I think is the collaboration I

think again a key to that is to make

sure that when you plan the project you

plan for there to be something for

everyone to do however if there's a very

bossy student I think you can try to

encourage you can try to sorry

accommodate that bossiness for example

by giving them the timekeeping role I

find also that some of those students if

you give them as an extra role which is

to make sure that the others are working

or to make sure that they're all using

language you want them to use that kind

of absorbs their energy a little bit

with the week I think you have to be as

a teacher sympathetic to the fact that

they may not be bored they may be shy

they may not not by nature feel very

good about teamwork but if you encourage

them over time and you let them know

that the they are going to have to talk

about their contribution even if it's

just to say I made the face and it could

be complicated with the infographic for

example I went way entry first three

sports and I decided to do this and then

I persuaded my team that we should talk

about that if they know that half the

presentation stage will involve saying

what they did I think that it can

encourage them to take more

responsibility and that they know that

they can't get away with we've been lazy

yeah I agree I think there's really good

ideas I think I would also think about

your suggestions for kind of

self-assessment because one of the

things I find that people who don't

engage often they don't really see the

point and they think they're in a

language lesson and they're thinking why

are they doing something which is not

about language and so using those using

those self assessment things at the

beginning so that they are aware of what

they're focusing on and then at the end

to actually score themselves makes them

think more clearly so you can have for

example in your self assessment grids

it could be focused on something like

taking turns

yes yes yes every everybody had a turn

did I was I good at letting people take

eternal these kind of things were

focused on the sharing of work so that

just in that lesson that task that's all

you're focusing on and it then means

that everybody has to think about are

they doing those things which are part

of collaboration got lots of questions

is flying in there

great are there any ways to measure and

assess collaboration in the ELT

classroom there's a tough one well I

think and taking there's a reflection

stage where they they say whether they

did take turns and whether everyone in

the group took turns whether they use

that language and whether the

turn-taking was useful did they just did

they just I speak and then the person to

my right speaks and the person to their

right speaks or was he actually

effective doing what they wanted to do

it's one way you could measure yeah yeah

I mean I've been working with Cambridge

assessment on this topic and they are

looking at how they can measure

collaboration and it's really difficult

because you want to give a score to an

individual and yet collaboration always

depends on more than one person and but

but really I think if for a teacher in

informal evaluation it I think it is

using those kind of questions that

you've got or things like the can-do

statements with the score of how well

you've done it and as a teacher you can

you can do that you can look at your

students and say you know how to score

of six how well they've been sharing out

the tasks or participating etc yeah as

you said focusing on a very specific

kind of statement of specific skill like

turn-taking or assigning the tasks so

you're not looking at collaboration in

its entirety but one particular area

for that particular project how well did

they do that because it might be one of

them was very good at taking turns but

the other was great at deciding who does

what for that you need to you can

focusing on the turn taking let's look

at how everyone did with turn taking so

yeah there's a question I mean some of

these questions can overlap a little bit

how to encourage shy students to take a

role in negotiation I think some of your

points about assigning roles yeah I

think assigning roles making sure

there's something for everyone to do

none of this means that the teacher

isn't there to monitor or to kind of

encourage the student so I think if I

noticed a group primary or secondary

where one of the students looked like

they were they weren't shy and maybe not

taking part you could approach that

group and simply say okay has everybody

made made a suggestion or without

necessarily indicating that particular

student there's still a role for the

teacher and encouraging the this

collaborative effort what's important is

that the teacher doesn't do the

collaboration for them so they don't

dictate who takes turns they don't

assign the roles but for example it

might be that you say has everyone got

something to do and then you find out

what student hasn't and you say well can

you together decide yeah and I think

also with some of the language that you

were using at the beginning of the task

to to help them do the task that kind of

task management language getting people

just to practice things like and what do

you think

kind of just breaks the ice a little bit

makes them realize that that that's

something they have to do they have to

ask others what they think yeah usually

I do like a demonstration stage so it

would be for example with the story

telling all the students in from the

class and then we decide we together we

choose pictures

story and that's when they get to

practice the language but in many cases

I would give them each ransom to write

that language into their notebooks or

give them a printout with the language

on and then they have to tick when

they've used language and you can even

you can make it different there's one to

take it all off

has praise for that but you can you can

make it quite mechanical but how let's

see how then I think we've run out of


sorry good not so much yeah I think

we've covered a lot of them there's

maybe a few more we can try and follow

up on and but so now we're going to draw

to a close and we if you want your

recording and the certificate that will

be sent to you by email now in the next

two weeks you should receive that and

it's been really great to have you as

part of this webinar and it's it really

been a great example of collaboration is

we've yes the crap across countries you

get to try some of those ideas out in

your own classes


The Description of Fostering collaboration in the ELT classroom - Dan Vincent and Ben Knight