Samarbejde Om Læring – SOL (Collaboration on Learning)
SOL is an internationally acknowledged method for teaching multicultural groups in elementary school, high school and adult education. SOL is a set of principles of teaching that enhance students’ learning through increased activity, shared responsibility and involvement of varied skills and abilities. The purpose of SOL is to fully realise the potential of the class’ resources and to ensure that the multicultural knowledge and experience of the class is put to its maximal advantage.
SOL was developed by IKC in cooperation with The Stanford School of Education at Stanford University in California, the network group Cooperative Learning in Intercultural Education Project (CLIP) and International Association for Intercultural Education (IAIE).
Teaching with SOL
SOL is based on the experience that students learn more by teaching others, and by debating, speaking and working together. Interaction in the classroom is essential. Therefore, the SOL-method takes its starting point with group work where cooperation is necessary in order to finish a task – everyone knows something, but together we know more. With the SOL-method, every student is responsible not just for their own but for the group’s learning. SOL develops the participants’ perception of themselves and of truth, and the method creates a field of tension where students are challenged to think for themselves.
When teaching with SOL, it is up to the teacher to create a foundation for effective and constructive cooperation in the groups. During group work, the teacher works as a consultant and observer, observing the interaction between the students, and taking note of their roles and status within the groups and every student’s participation and contribution to the groups. Moreover, by using the SOL-method, the teacher can work on the dynamics of the groups and thus secure that every student takes an equal part in learning.
The three fundamental principles of SOL
Students are trained in the division of roles in a group and the norms of cooperation.
As preparatory work to the actual group work, the students go through a number of exercises in cooperation in order to train the group in effective group work, and to learn to respect every group member’s contributions to the group. The exercises in cooperation create a foundation for the set of norms that are to take effect later in the group work. During the preparatory work, a division of roles within the groups is also established to secure that all fields of responsibility are covered in the groups. Through the division of roles in the group work, the students learn to take responsibility for their own as well as their group’s learning.
By delegating responsibilities and assignments, the teacher is free to observe the group work, give specific feedback to the groups and deal with problems of status within the groups that can lead to unequal participation of the group members.
The group work makes use of the students’ varied resources and abilities
The group assignments are designed in a way to ensure that a wide range of abilities and skills are needed to solve the problem. The assignments take their starting points in the experiences and qualifications of the students which also form the basis for the discussions and cooperation of the groups.
All relevant subjects can be treated when using the SOL-method. The subjects that are treated in the group work are based on a central concept, “a general question”, for example “Why are children’s rights important?” or “What is democracy?”. For every subject, a set of assignments are stated and the assignments are formulated in a way that ensures that the group’s experiences and knowledge will be used in the group work and will enrich the end product - and most importantly: that every student’s contribution is made invaluable to the group’s working process.
In the United States, research has shown that students learn more in classes where this method is used.
The teacher has to be able to identify and treat problems of status within a group
The teacher observes what goes on in the groups, if all roles are filled and if there is equal participation and interaction in the group. If necessary, the teacher takes care of problems of status in the groups – that is, the teacher makes use of his/her authority to raise the status of low status students.
Giving students equal status ensures that all students have an experience of intellectually contributing the assignment, and thus, the idea of being smart takes