Collaborative Skills: Definition & Explanation

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  • 0:02 What Are Collaborative Skills?
  • 0:38 Basic Collaborative Skills
  • 2:03 Teaching Skills of…
  • 3:29 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Mary Firestone
Find out what collaborative skills are and learn about different types of collaborative skills in this lesson. You'll receive a few tips for teaching students about collaborative skills, then you can take a quiz to test your new knowledge.

What Are Collaborative Skills?

Anyone who has coworkers has probably had to work with someone else to complete a project, whether it's completing an important report or assembling a retail display. Such collaboration requires the use of collaborative skills. Collaborative skills are the behaviors that help two or more people work together and function well in the process. Teachers can train their students in the skills of collaboration so they will be able to accomplish group tasks, not just in the classroom but also in work settings, social settings and other aspects of life.

Basic Collaborative Skills

Basic skills of collaboration are similar to skills of communication, in that they're generally best absorbed by younger children who can build on their skills as they grow. So, what are the skills of collaboration? Collaboration depends largely on the ability to simply join in, to commit yourself to working with others, listening to what others have to say and encouraging them to speak up and speaking up yourself when you have an idea or opinion.

Collaborators must also know how to effectively begin and end a conversation, ask for help or a favor, follow directions, and ask questions when confused or curious. Other important skills include being able to effectively express your feelings as well as concern for others and, of course, having a grasp of basic manners - saying please and thank you - and knowing how to say no without offending someone.

One important, but very often overlooked, skill is the ability to give a compliment or constructive criticism. And it's just as important to know how to accept a compliment or constructive criticism. Finally, the skill of negotiation, discussing a disagreement until you can come to an agreement, is essential in all aspects of life. The list could go on forever, but with a basic understanding of collaborative skills, students can build on their own skills and grow as collaborators.

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