By Sidra Miller
Collaborative environments are very beneficial because it helps students produce a growth mindset, and help connect with other students, simulating the type of real work they’d be doing in the future. Collaboration is especially important in STEM because students can work together on complex problems, which will be better solved with multiple minds. There are multiple benefits to collaboration such as it creates space for different perspectives, promotes a growth mindset, and boosts confidence.
One major benefit of a collaborative environment is that it creates space for different perspectives. Oftentimes, people may have different solutions to a problem that an individual may not have thought of themselves. Having more people opens up new perspectives on how to approach problems, and because more ideas are going around, the solution that is decided is more likely to be well thought out and be the best approach. With that, it naturally expands one’s thinking and helps develop empathy. When having to make an effort to understand someone’s ideas, creates empathy because it helps build trust, therefore forming closer relationships with those you work with. It also helps gain creativity because it forces you to think outside of the box and have a fresher understanding, leading to innovative problem-solving skills.
Another benefit of a collaborative environment is that it promotes a growth mindset. Collaborative environments help people transform their fixed mindset into a growth one. When people have a fixed mindset, they believe that their talents/qualities cannot be improved, but with a fixed mindset, they believe that their intelligence/talents can develop over time. Because a collaborative environment helps people learn new things, it puts them in a growth mindset because they see that there’s always something that can be learned. Research has shown that people with a growth mindset tend to be more resilient and motivated because they view challenges as opportunities to learn and grow, rather than as an obstacle to their self-worth.
Lastly, a collaborative environment helps boost confidence. Collaboration gives everyone a chance to speak up about issues, and when you speak up and notice people agreeing with you or how beneficial an idea is, it makes you realize that your perspective holds value and contributes to the collective strength of the team. This realization fosters a sense of empowerment and confidence, encouraging active engagement and the open exchange of ideas. And, when there is collaboration, each team member will start to see the value they bring to the group, which helps increase confidence and increase the overall morale of the team. It can also improve confidence because it improves communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills which are essential in all areas of life.
Overall, collaboration is really important in STEM because it creates space for different perspectives, provides a growth mindset, and boosts confidence. By promoting this kind of environment, collaboration becomes the trigger for innovation and progress. Embracing collaboration not only enriches the professional journey of individuals in STEM but also ensures that the field as a whole remains at the forefront of transformative advancements.
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