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The Collaborative Writing Approach in Teaching

written by: Natasha Stiller • edited by: Pamela Rice-Linn • updated: 9/11/2012

Can you envision a group of students working collectively to collaborate on a class assignment with success? That is what the idea of collaborative writing suggests, as well as enhances skills students will use for the rest of their lives.

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    Collaborative Writing Benefits

    Writing is such a wonderful expression for individuals to dabble in, to create emotion, to share emotion, to live in the imagination, and to initiate ideas. The understanding of how to write is required in life, whether it is in simple messages communicated via email, or if it is a necessary portion of someone’s job description. Writing is a skill that must be learned through practice.

    The collaborative writing approach in teaching can be used to an educator’s benefit, since students can use their imaginations to create a story within parameters of an assignment. Students will start to explore story with their peers and be able to shape the details of a given assignment. Collaboration is a skill required in life as well, so combining several necessary skills for life into one assignment can be helpful. Students learn how to work together, how to initiate conversations with each other, how to take on certain roles within a group, and how to put together ideas for a final assignment or project.

    Not every individual within a class is going to really appreciate working together within a group, but if students are teamed with individuals that they can all utilize their strengths the group dynamic will work well and students can walk away from the collaborative writing assignment with much success.

    The collaborative writing approach can be used as a whole class to form a story with all of the week’s spelling words or vocabulary words. The whole class can develop an alternate ending to a short story that was read aloud, or to a popular movie. These suggestions can help students get the hang of what they would need to do as a smaller group working collectively on a particular assignment. This modeling of sharing ideas can be overshadowed by the teacher and can help mediate if there are any troubles that come up.

    Teaming both boys and girls within groups will also help spark ideas, since girls usually have a stronger desire to write, while boys generally have wild imaginations yet often struggle with putting down their ideas on paper.

    In today’s society, the media influences a great deal of collaborative writing, whether in the publishing world, in public forms, or on sites where individuals are all collaborating to write down their ideas.

    The experiences of collaborative writing help enable students to understand their strengths and weaknesses, as well as work on these weaknesses with their peers. Leadership opportunities unfold, enabling students with strong leadership skills to step in. Students can learn a great deal about how to work with a variety of people in collaborative writing groups. If teachers start early, as students approach higher grades as well as college, students will be proficient in working with others in collaborative writing settings.

    Collaborative writing as a whole will also enable students to strengthen their own individual writing skills. They will start to see their own writing style, what influences their writing, and what type of people they want to work with if they are going to collaborative write. These groups might even encourage a student to write more.

    The benefits of utilizing collaborative writing groups in teaching are endless. Check out this site for another great collaborative lesson on writing plays.

    http://www.brighthubeducation.com/lesson-plans-grades-3-5/22248-the-runaway-story-playwriting-lesson/