Will students collaborate during remote learning? | Tara Quigley | 6 Min Read

How can we support and instruct students in effective collaboration techniques when learning remotely? At face value, collaboration would appear to be a skill that is not easily taught while students are remote. However, it is clearly a communication style that is occurring regularly in the remote work world of today. As my colleagues and I learned during the course of 2020, it can be done effectively at school with a bit of tweaking and scaffolding. 

One of the competencies that is scaffolded into many aspects of my sixth-grade Humanities classes at Princeton Day School is collaboration. Over the past five years, my colleagues and I have made deliberate efforts to teach about collaboration and to provide students feedback as they develop this important skill. However, when we were thrown into remote teaching in the spring of 2020, we were faced with a challenge. We had to be creative and build in deliberate strategies for online collaboration. 

When PDS began our remote teaching program, Panthers Online, in the spring of 2020, we were completely asynchronous. Concerns about equity issues and student ability to get online meant that we did not require students to be online for classes. This posed…

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Tara Quigley

Tara Quigley began her teaching career in 1991 and has been at Princeton Day School for 23 years. She currently teaches sixth grade Humanities, serves as Director of Miss Fine’s Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, and is the Middle School Technology Coordinator. She has worked for OESIS as the Director of Program Alignment, working with schools to build mission-aligned culture and program, and has served as an OESIS Network Leader for many years. Having begun her career as a Middle-School science teacher, Tara has always been interested in incorporating inquiry, questioning, and exploration in her classroom. She has also taught early-childhood science, fourth grade, and fifth and sixth grade Humanities at Princeton Day School. In order to spark more engagement and intrinsic motivation in her classes, Tara began using Design Thinking, PBL, and inquiry in her Humanities classes to encourage student agency and allow for differentiation with Competency-Based Learning for feedback and assessment. Having seen great success with this approach, Tara frequently shares her process and experiences with her colleagues at PDS, national conferences, and peer schools. In 2014, Tara was appointed to the position of Director of Miss Fine’s Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in which she has worked to educate and empower teachers to try new pedagogical practices and strategies, including: design thinking, PBL, Guided Inquiry Research, Visible Thinking Protocols, and teaching towards mastery of skills and competencies. In 2016, Tara received an Intrepid Innovator Award in 2020.