Developing a Culture of Empathy to Foster Interdependence Within Year 9 Technology Learning Groups — Dave Arnall, Lindisfarne College, New Zealand

To collaborate is to work jointly with others or together, especially in an intellectual endeavour. In a classroom context, this can be a tall order for junior school students without specific skill-sets to facilitate understanding between their emotions and their actions. Some students’ inability to empathise can present further barriers to effective group-work.

Interdependence, the condition of being mutually dependent, or reliant upon one another, is central to effective collaboration in most curriculum areas, but especially so in Technology, where group project work is often the norm. This is undoubtedly a skill necessary for a successful life; thus it has puzzled me that while some group members work extremely well together, others, who theoretically have the academic, organisational and manipulative skills to excel, fail to “fire” as a cohesive unit.