No one can deny that 21st Century Skills are integral components to student success in the digital age and beyond. Perhaps the most integral skill is that of collaboration or “the action of working with someone to produce or create something.” The willingness and ability to work with others to achieve a common goal, solve a problem, or to create a unique product fosters positive work habits and measurable results. Working with others allows for the sharing of ideas, constructive criticism, and unique points of view. How many times have you worked on a group project in class and found that the exchange of ideas and sharing of responsibilities yielded incredible results? Having students collaborate is important but equally important is having teachers work together to improve student outcomes.
Recently, Sra. Julie Ahmed-Jussaume and I collaborated on assessing and “calibrating” oral assignments for her Hispanic Civilization, Culture, and Literature class. We rotated within groups, as partners presented information on social issues and challenges in the Latin American world. The results were extremely interesting and opened up a conversation on student expectations and objectives. We identified areas of strength and weakness in the student work and discussed in detail the meaning of the elements of the rubric. We also analyzed where we were in agreement as well as how and why we differed in our assessment of some student work. This “team” approach to student learning and sharing of results allows for us to adjust our teaching practices and improve student learning.