Collaborative acculturation from an early age

Collaboration is the new productivity frontier for a more ambitious, streamlined and agile humanity, which addresses the most complex problems of our times. Why even leave them to our children?

Today, I will focus on how to prepare ourselves and the new generations for the collective missions we will have to colead. As a priority, the new collaborative culture needs to be taught in schools, from an early age. The “New normal” requires new way of working & thinking.

Otherwise, it might be another paradoxical injunction, which in spite of a strong will to shift, will make it hard for people to enjoy true and genuine collaboration. In particular, because of the leadership attitude it requires from all players.

This is why we need to invite children to develop their collaboration competencies as part of the curriculum. The purpose will be to raise the conscientiousness on the competency gaps they will have to fill at individual and collective level.

Designed in a safe and fun environment, the new activities will make possible the transition to a lasting sense of inclusion and belonging, which we saw how crucial this is.

You will find here a combination of personal ideas as well as collective calls for follow-up actions from a Together-Ensemble session, organised on 4 June 2020. Speakers were: Maruja Gutierrez-Diaz[1], Tremeur Denigot[2] and François Jourde[3].

It allowed more than 70 colleagues of the EU Institutions to deepen their reflections on the key elements of pedagogy to reinforce learning as a highly social process and to empower students.

So, how could we encourage our kids to grow out of their comfort zone through more collaborative experience?

  • Develop meaningful activities, reinforcing autonomy and sustained motivation
    • Ask children to solve problems
    • Emphasis on “learning” rather than “teaching”.
    • Active engagement is essential.
    • Continuous assessment, rather than end-of-year exams
    • Autonomy in the classroom should mean autonomy in assessment.
    • Design of collaborative challenges on real complex issues, requesting collaboration with others outside the groups.
  • Extend learning beyond the scope of subject areas.
  • Encourage the “genius hour” – up to 20% of the time to concentrate on a free project.
  • Provide knowledge to everyone in society on all new scenario that we have.
  • Provide the right approach and tools to promote diversity and foster interaction. Integrity and responsibility as key values.
  • Increase awareness of the system and its interconnectedness. One weak dots weakens the whole system. Include sustainable education. Rethink performance appraisal and core values.

LET’S DREAM: Why not organise massive collaborative experiences? The purpose will be to collect ideas from all over the globe on some of our complex problems: poverty, migration crisis, planetary emergency, plastics, sustainable economy, etc. Adults and children invited to co-lead our future!

By increasing the efforts to deliver a collaborative culture, we will promote our growth towards an exceptional civilisation! I hope many in the education sector will want to innovate to provide more collaborative experiences in the classrooms. Tomorrow I am sharing the draft manifesto for your feedback.

Photo by Vanessa Loring on

[1] Maruja Gutierrez-Diaz is a former senior adviser in DG EAC who is a consultant on education and innovation.

[2] Tremeur Denigot is helping the JRC to engage teachers in sustainable science activities to stimulate critical thinking and science literacy among their students.

[3] Francois Jourde is responsible for digital education at the European Schools, as well being a lecturer in innovation and education technologies.

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