Thursday, January 12, 2017

#MTBoSBlogsplosion Week 2: Soft Skills - Collaboration

In reading this weeks #MTBoSBlogsplosion prompt, I realized that I do a pretty poor job of explicitly teaching soft skills.  I'm looking forward to see what everyone else posts to see what I can add to my daily routines.  My curriculum is so jam packed that I really don't have the free time to take a an entire period to teach a soft skill.

The one thing that I think I do well is building the capacity of my students to work collaboratively.  This is because I use the hybrid rotational model of blended learning.   It's also largely due to the fact that I stumbled across the Kagan  geometry book a few years ago.  This book gave me activities to have students learn geometry through collaboration.  I love the focus on vocabulary and notation that are so important in geometry, but also the varied collaborative structures.  Each structure gets students actively involved in the learning process and some even incorporate movement into class.

My favorite structures are Boss/Secretary and  Rally Coach.  I don't usually tell my students the name of the strategy, I just describe how I'd like them to work.  These strategies encourage students to defend their reasoning and consider the explanations of their peers.  By giving simple roles to each partner, the work is more focused and you have fewer students sitting and watching their partner do all the work.

So what soft skills are you good at developing in your students.  I hope to read about the following ideas on your blogs:  self motivation, empathy, initiative, flexibility, tactfulness, ... and so many more.

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