Teaching collaborative communication skills

The complexity of understanding and engaging with design challenges such as environmental sustainability, food production, selection of materials or manufacturing process presents the opportunity for students to develop collaborative literacy skills. Working together on problem-solving and creative solution development is an important part of today’s workforce (Eckert, 2016), and these skills are fundamental to all stages of the Creating Designed Solutions process.

To foster teamwork, teachers can adapt to the Think-Ink-Pair-Share teaching strategy. To do this, teachers:

  1. Present a problem to the class:
  2. Provide time for students to Think of their solution
  3. Have students write down (Ink) their solution
  4. Have students Pair and Share their solutions. Pairs or groups of students at this stage should be encouraged to come up with a single solution by adopting different design elements from each student.
  5. Groups of students work on developing their designed solution.

A template such as the one below can help students to record their ideas and then discuss their solutions in a group.

A graphic organiser that can be used for students to collaborate and share their designed solutions. It comprises five quadrants with one in the centre and four in each corner of the page. In the central quadrant, the design problem is outlined. In each of the four corner quadrants, students can write and draw their proposed solution.

More information about how teachers can support collaborative discussion can be found in the Talk strategies for group work in the English section of the Toolkit.