Working Together: Collaborative Learning in Arts Based Community/University Partnerships
At their best, university/community arts collaborations offer reciprocal rewards. Student artists benefit from interaction with a range of human experience, no matter in which venues they ultimately work. Their consciousness is raised about who gets to make art and why…they expand their sense of art’s capacity, as well as their own artistic possibilities. In cultivating the expressive and communicative capacities of both students and community members, community-based work also develops more self-confident and giving human beings (Collins, 2008, para. 9).
When designing a community/university arts based partnership, what teaching methodologies, models of curriculum and/or instructional strategies can be implemented to create the most reciprocal learning environment possible?
Basic principles of collaborative learning include:
-Learning actualized in small groups consisting of 2-6 persons.
-Interaction of students within groups is important in learning.
-Competition between groups is more important than competition among
-Success or failure are belonging to groups more than individuals.
-Applications of this method combine students in classroom who have different
abilities and characteristics. Also, friendships increased among students.
-Cognitive, affective, and social behaviors of students are improved using this
learning application (Unalan, 2008, p. 871).
Elements that promote collaborative learning in community/university partnerships:
Relationship building through:
-The act of listening
-Exploration of personal and cultural narratives
-Applying the same amount of pressure to all students
-Let teams or pairs of students establish their own roles and responsibilities to hold one another accountable
-Change the curriculum of each partnership in order to meet the needs of the specific community in which the partnership will take place
-Celebrate the students’ relationship, showcase their work and process to the community so that they are merited in a public setting (Aldana, 2011; Mesa-Bains, 2002; Rocco, 2011).