Using collaborative learning techniques

Building Resilience
in Children and
Young People
Using Collaborative
Learning Activities
Teacher Professional
Using Collaborative Learning Activities
What are Collaborative Learning Strategies?
‘Collaborative learning strategies’ are dialogic in nature and involve
student-to-student interaction, rather than just teacher-student
Include activities such as:
• role-play and simulation
• small group problem-solving discussions
• critical-thinking tasks
• skills development exercises
• themed games
Such strategies are central to SEL, life-skills, sexuality and drug
education programs
(Cahill 2006)
Using Collaborative Learning Activities
Collaborative learning strategies are central to
effective SEL programs
• Collaborative learning strategies help students to build skills (rather
than just learn new knowledge)
• Collaborative learning strategies help students to think about the
challenges that they may encounter in their lives
Good SEL programs give students an opportunity to learn and apply
their skills and to rehearse for future situations
Using Collaborative Learning Activities
Teacher use of collaborative learning strategies
• Collaborative learning tasks require a high level of facilitation from the
teacher as they must organise and moderate students’ interactions both
with peers and with the task
• The teacher is a significant element and variable in the delivery of a
• When the collaborative learning tasks are not used, the SEL program
does not deliver the same outcomes
• The most successful program have provided teachers with training in
how to deliver the SEL learning activities
Natvig et al. 2003
Using Collaborative Learning Activities
Building teacher confidence in using collaborative
learning strategies
• Some teachers and students who are less accustomed to working via
collaborative learning tasks may wish to spend additional time setting
up group agreements and norms, and provide some explicit coaching
on the use of team skills in group work
• The introductory lessons provided in the secondary materials can be
used to build a positive group atmosphere and establish some group
agreements with new classes. They could also be adapted for use in
the primary classroom though most teachers will have already set up
classroom rules and expectations
• The games provided in each topic can be used to help the class learn
to mix well with each other and to develop social good will whilst also
developing SEL skills
Promoting Positive Relationships
Group Activity: Qualities that I admire
1. Allocate each pair a scenario
2. Ask them to: restate the problem in their own words, choose who this person
could ask for help, work out what they could say to the person they approach
for help, and work out what they could do or say if the person being asked for
help was too busy or was not helpful
3. Ask participants to design and prepare two short role-plays, one in which they
show a good response from the help-giver and one in which they show a poor
response from the help-giver
4. Arrange for participants to show their role-plays. Ask them to note what the
player has done well in asking for help. Also ask: what does it take to ask for
Example scenario 1 : You’ve been
away sick and don’t know how to do
the assignment. Who will you ask for
help? What could you say?
Example scenario 2: You don’t know
how to use the new reporting system.
Who will you ask for help? What could
you say?
This activity is adapted from the Level 3-4 Building Resilience learning materials (Topic 6:
Help-seeking, Activity 2)
Using Collaborative Learning Activities
Individual Activity: Help-seeking scenarios
(Adapted from Level 3-4)
Choose one of the scenarios below and answer the questions:
• What could he or she do?
• Who could he or she ask to help?
• What could friends do to help?
Gina finds that her
mobile phone has been
stolen from her handbag
while everyone was in
Tim’s little brother is
being bullied at school,
and now while they are
walking to school, he
has started crying
because he is scared it
will happen again
This activity is adapted from the Level 3-4 Building Resilience learning materials (Topic 6: Helpseeking, Activity 2)
Using Collaborative Learning Activities
Participatory Pedagogy
Participatory learning strategies are integral to the
effectiveness of health education programs
Herbert, P. C., & Lohrmann, D. K.(2011)
Participatory learning strategies are the exception rather than
the norm in within general teaching practice
Natvig, G. K., Albrektsen, G., & Qvarnstrom, U. (2003).
When the participatory learning tasks are not used, the
program does not deliver the same outcomes
Stead, M., Stradling, R., Macneil, M., Mackintosh, A. M., & Minty, S. (2007).
Using Collaborative Learning Activities
Participatory method works even when not addressing
specific health content
• Use of participatory learning strategies is not the norm for
most teachers
• In this study only 15% of the pupils reported that they were
often/very often engaged in small group tasks
• Those students who got to do participatory work:
 built connectedness to school,
 exercised their social skills
 developed greater levels of confidence that their
teachers and their peers can be a source of help when
they experience violence or distress
Natvig, G. K., Albrektsen, G., & Qvarnstrom, U. (2003)
Using Collaborative Learning Activities
Play and SEL learning
• Young children develop SEL skills through their
free play with peers
• Play can provide a medium for becoming more
self-aware, empathic and motivated as well as
becoming more able to manage feelings and
develop and deploy social skills
Woolf A. (2013)
Using Collaborative Learning Activities
Games for SEL
• Collaborative games are a powerful way of developing
social and emotional learning in young people
• The social and emotional skills needed to play successfully
with others are those needed to succeed at work and in
adult life
• Pro-social skills involve regulating negative emotions,
taking turns and sharing, support orientations to others that
are fair, just, and respectful
Hromek, R., & Roffey, S. (2009)
Using Collaborative Learning Activities
Circle Time
• Can provide a space for students to talk together
about important issues, and to think creatively and
• Circle time can be used as a time for group
discussion, co-operative team games, songs,
stories and relaxation
• Many of the early primary activities have a ‘circle
time’ component
Using Collaborative Learning Activities
Circle Time (continued)
Key principles of circle time:
• Respect: rules emphasise respect for individuals and their contribution
• Democracy: equal opportunity for all to participate
• Community: promotes a whole class ethos where everyone is responsible
for each other
• Inclusion: everyone is welcome
• Choice: no one is pressured to participate
• Agency: rather than telling students what to do, provides a framework for
students to take responsibility
• Reflection: games and activities designed to encourage reflection
• Creativity: wide scope for creativity
• Positive emotionality: activities structured to facilitate positive emotions in
• Fun: Focus is on feeling good, safe and supported, increasing a sense of
Roffey, 2006
Using Collaborative Learning Activities
Sample positive sharing ideas from Foundation and
Level 1-2
Brief examples from the lessons:
• At Foundation level: ‘Arrange for students to share their pictures in
circle time. Ask those who felt they learnt more about each other from
the activity to put their hands up. Remind them that learning about how
others feel is a good friendship skill.’
• At Level 1 /2: ‘Arrange for students to post their letters in the
classroom post-box to be read at circle time over the following days or
Using Collaborative Learning Activities
Group Activity:The Connections Game – a focus on
partnership skills (Adapted from Level 1-2 SEL
1. Find a partner
2. Work together to keep a chopstick ‘held’
between your index fingers (each
person in the pair should have their
index finger in contact with one of the
two tips of the chopstick, so that the
chopstick is horizontal to the ground)
3. Move around the room, experimenting
with turns and moving up and down,
without dropping the chopstick
4. Gradually, other chopsticks will be
added to the game to link pairs together
with other pairs, until the whole group is
in a single chopstick line moving around
the room
This game highlights
the importance of
team work and
building connections
Using Collaborative Learning Activities
Group Activity: The
Knots problem-solving game (Adapted from Level 3-4)
• Form groups of 8
• Close your eyes, put your hands
forward, and grip another person’s hand
in each of yours
• You will now form a giant human knot.
The group must find a way of undoing
the knot, without letting go of each
other’s hands, and without hurting
Using Collaborative Learning Activities
• How and when do you use collaborative
learning strategies in your regular teaching?
• What opportunities do you see to use
collaborative learning to improve
engagement, thinking and social
Using Collaborative Learning Techniques
Cahill, H. (2006). Devising Classroom Drug Education Programs. In R. Midford & G. Munro (Eds.),
Drug Education in Schools: Searching for the Silver Bullet (pp. 147-165). Camberwell: Pearson.
Herbert, P. C., & Lohrmann, D. K. (2011). It's All in the Delivery! An Analysis of Instructional Strategies
From Effective Health Education Curricula. Journal of School Health, 81(5), 258-264.
Hromek, R., & Roffey, S. (2009). Promoting Social and Emotional Learning With Games: ''It's Fun and
We Learn Things''. Simulation & Gaming, 40, 626-644.
Natvig, Gerd Karin, Albrektsen, Grethe, & Qvarnstrom, Ulla. (2003). Methods of Teaching and Class
Participation in Relation to Perceived Social Support and Stress: Modifiable Factors for Improving
Health and Wellbeing among Students. Educational Psychology: An International Journal of
Experimental Educational Psychology, 23(3), 261-274.
Roffey, S. (2006) Circle Time for Emotional Literacy, London, SAGE Publications Inc.
Stead, M., Stradling, R., Macneil, M., Mackintosh, A. M., & Minty, S. (2007). Implementation evaluation
of the Blueprint multi-component drug prevention programme: fidelity of school component delivery.
[Article]. Drug & Alcohol Review, 26(6), 653-664.
Woolf A. Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning: teaching and learning or playing and becoming?.
Pastoral Care In Education [serial online]. March 2013;31(1):28-42. Available from: Academic Search
Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed August 9, 2013.

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