Collaboration is one of the skills we need to prepare our students for. We are preparing the next generation for a world that current business leaders call VUCA. VUCA essentially means “the world is going somewhere but we don’t know where!” The acronym stands for Volatile (unexpected/unstable), Uncertainty (change is probable), Complexity (lots of interconnected parts and variables), and finally Ambiguity (unclear/unknown). Yes, this is the future, the world of VUCA. To help students become part of this world, 21st-century learning skills have been identified. For this post, I want to focus on collaboration.
The point of collaborating in the current workforce is because of the increasing complexity of the world’s problems. One person possibly cannot be an expert in everything needed to solve tomorrows problems. Collaboration helps everyone move forward, collaboration results in results. Collaboration, if done well, puts us closer to achieving our goals. Therefore, we must explicitly teach good collaboration skills.
When we are good collaborators we listen intently, consider the view of others, come up with ideas and a process for solving the problem or achieving the common goal, be able to come to a consensus and resolve conflicts along the way. These skills are all important and must be taught. One thing I want to stress is, preparing students for the 21st century and making them aware of what skills and how to develop them is not a one-day lesson but a cumulative effort.