I believe collaboration is ageless.
I have 3 beautiful children. My first 2 kids are only 17 months apart. Having 2 toddlers and an infant can be a challenge but I love it. One thing that has helped me as a teacher is witnessing what I call natural collaboration. My toddlers love to collaborate. It is awesome to see them problem solve together, build together and create art or imaginary stories together. They are not forced to do so. They are not even asked to do so. They want to. They naturally feed off each other. They watch each other, learn from each other and for the most part are happy together.
As an educator, I think collaboration fosters creativity, engagement, and happiness in the classroom. In any given day, there are not many moments when my students are not collaborating. Whether it is partner writing, creating assessments, developing textbooks, or simply reading I see and they see the value in working together. Not only do they learn more from each other but time and time again I have seen the power of student collaboration.
In addition to teaching 3rd grade, I also teach at PVCC. Last night was my first class of the spring semester. Literally within 5 minutes of being in the class, the students were working together on a project. I introduced myself, and then introduced an activity. They chose a partner and started to work on deciphering 10 riddles. I gave them about 10 minutes to try to complete the assignment. Besides seeing creativity and critical thought, I also witnessed laughter, happiness, and connections. When they walked into the room they were quiet and uncomfortable. 15 minutes later, they were smiling, comfortable and ready to learn. When I started teaching college courses 7 years ago, I was told that they would not want to communicate or collaborate with each other. That advice went in one ear and out the other. Not only do college students enjoy collaborating, I truly believe they are yearning to do so. My students enjoy coming to class. I know because they attend class, and I know because they say so on the class evaluation every semester.
I truly believe collaboration is ageless. It should be a focus in every classroom no matter age or level.