What is it? – Working cooperatively and collaboratively. Working effectively in teams.
Sounds like – “What’s you idea?” “How can we solve this problem together?” “By working together we can create a better solution.”
Looks like – Group work, team work. Effectively working together, listening and responding.
Feels like – A sense of accomplishment with others. Success. Trusting others to help.
Humans are social beings. We congregate in groups, find it therapeutic to be listened to, draw energy from one another, and seek reciprocity. In groups we contribute our time and energy to tasks that we would quickly tire of when working alone. Cooperative humans realize that all of us together are more powerful, intellectually or physically, than any one individual. Problem solving has become so complex that no one person can go it alone. No one person can consider as many alternatives as several people. Working interdependently has become critical in today’s world.
Some students may not have learned to work in groups; they have underdeveloped social skills. They feel isolated, and they prefer solitude. Some students seem unable to contribute to group work and are job hogs; conversely, other students let all the others in the group do the work.
Working in groups requires the ability to justify ideas and to test the feasibility of solution strategies on others. Through this interaction the group and the individual continue to grow. Listening, consensus seeking, giving up an idea to work with someone else’s, empathy, compassion, group leadership, knowing how to support group efforts, altruism – all are behaviors of cooperative human beings.
“Take care of each other, Share your energies with the group. No one must feel alone, cut off, for that is when you don’t make it.” Willie Unsoeld, Renowned Mountain Climber
Information on Habits of Mind are taken from the book Habits of Mind by Costa and Kallick.