Dolphin Teachers and Pod Classrooms: Why Two Fins are Better than One

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Ninety Four percent of employers agree that collaboration is an imperative skill for 21st century job success for new graduates. Even though social bonding is in our human nature, we often forget this truth. I see it all the time — highly intelligent university and college students who minimize their social connection with others because they deem their peers as opponents rather than teammates. This solitary “tiger” mindset often leads students to become overly competitive and lacking in important social skills. The National Education Association (NEA) deems collaboration as an essential skill for students to learn, because it is inherent in how work is accomplished and how our workforce functions. In my research, I have found the characteristics of one of the world’s most altruistic mammals, the dolphin, to be a powerful metaphor for collaborative teaching and learning approaches.

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