What Does a 21st Century Classroom Look Like: Collaboration

By: Patrick Goertz

assessment“Continuing to follow up the post 10 Signs of a 21st Century Classroom, I would like to share some ideas that we have at my school for achieving these goals. Some are actively implemented by a significant number of our faculty, while others are still just an idea being trialed by one or two teachers. I am by no means saying that these are the best or only ideas out there.

The importance of a collaborative environment cannot be overstated.  Whether preparing for college or for a career, the ability to successfully work together to solve problems and create new material is a critical skill that students must be given an opportunity to practice.  While it is easy to say that students are naturally good at working with their peers, here are some ideas that may help to ease the transition between conversing with others and true collaboration

Rearrange seating

The traditional arrangement of a classroom (teacher in the front, students in rows facing the same direction) works well if class is conducted in the view that the teacher is the source of all knowledge.  However, in the “teacher as facilitator” model that many of us have adopted, the whole arrangement of the classroom needs to be reconsidered.  Walking through our halls, several classrooms styles are observed: traditional, students gathered around tables, desks forming a large circle, and desks in clumps.  Each arrangement has benefits within certain contexts.  Laura Bradley has a great article about using specially designed furniture to promote a student directed, rapid change of classroom environment.” To read further please click here:


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