Collaborating involves the skills, strategies, and dispositions that people use to work together to pursue common purposes and accomplish common goals.

People who collaborate effectively recognize how combining others’ perspectives, strategies, and efforts with their own enhances collective understanding, use, and impact. They value the contributions of group members, interact supportively and effectively using inclusive practices, and strive for shared commitment and mutual benefit.

Working collectively

Students combine their efforts with those of others to effectively accomplish learning and tasks. As members of a group, they appreciate interdependence and cooperation, commit to needed roles and responsibilities, and are conscientious about contributing. They also negotiate respectfully and follow through on plans, strategies, and actions as they share resources, time, and spaces for collaborative projects.

Supporting group interactions

Students engage with others in ways that build and sustain trusting relationships and contribute to collective approaches. They value diverse perspectives and integrate the ideas of others with their own to tackle tasks, issues, and problems. Students seek to distribute leadership, listen actively, take turns in discussions, acknowledge contributions, and identify missing voices. They regulate the group’s interactions together, mutually encouraging one another, creating space for marginalized voices, and applying constructive strategies to navigate through misunderstandings, struggles, and conflict.

Determining common purposes

Students develop shared understandings of information, issues, situations, and problems in pursuit of common purposes and goals. They honour various group processes and proactively support movement forward, including refocusing on intended goals as needed. They revise plans according to mutual deliberations and strive for consensus. As co-members of a group, students see one another as valuable resources, commit to impact and collective success, assess group results and processes, and share in the recognition of achievements.




In familiar situations, I can participate with others.


In familiar situations, I cooperate with others for specific purposes.

I contribute during group activities, cooperate with others, and listen respectfully to their ideas. I can work with others for a specific purpose.


I contribute during group activities with peers and share roles and responsibilities to achieve goals.

I take on different roles and tasks in the group and work respectfully and safely in our shared space. I express my ideas and help others feel comfortable to share theirs so that all voices are included. I work with others to achieve a common goal and can evaluate our group processes and results.


I can confidently interact and build relationships with other group members to further shared goals.

I can identify and apply roles and strategies to facilitate groupwork. I draw on past experiences to negotiate and develop group processes. I am an active listener and speaker. I share my ideas and try to connect them with others’ ideas, I ask clarifying questions and check for understanding when appropriate, and I test my ideas with others and consider their input. I help resolve conflicts and challenges as they arise. I recognize how my contributions and those of others complement each other. I can plan with others and adjust our plan according to the group’s purpose.


I can facilitate group processes and encourage collective responsibility for our progress.

I play a role in collectively monitoring the progress of the group and adjust my contributions as needed. I recognize the interdependence of our roles and draw on these to move us forward. I ask thought-provoking questions, integrate new information and various perspectives from others, and think critically about whose voices are missing. I can disagree respectfully, and I anticipate potential conflicts and help manage them when they arise. I give, receive, and act on constructive feedback in support of our goals, and I can evaluate and revise plans with other group members.


I can connect my group with other groups and broader networks for various purposes.

I can step outside of my comfort zone to develop working relationships with unfamiliar groups. I develop and coordinate networking partnerships beyond and in service of the group. I demonstrate my commitment to the group’s purpose by taking on different roles as needed. I acknowledge different perspectives and seek out and create space for missing or marginalized voices. I summarize key themes to identify commonalities and focus on deepening or transforming our collective thinking and actions. I recognize when wisdom and strategies from others are needed and access these to address complex goals. I help create connections with other groups or networks to further our common goals and our impact.



The Core Competencies relate to each other and with every aspect of learning.

Connections among Core Competencies

The Core Competencies are interrelated and interdependent. Taken together, the competencies are foundational to every aspect of learning. Collaborating is intertwined with all the other Core Competencies.


Collaborating is one of the Communication Core Competency’s two interrelated sub-competencies, Communicating and Collaborating. Collaborating and Communicating overlap. For example:

  • Collaborating requires active speaking and listening for effective interactions.


Collaborating is closely related to the two Thinking sub-competencies, Creative Thinking and Critical and Reflective Thinking. For example:

  • When students think creatively, they build on group members’ ideas and integrate one another’s contributions to develop novel approaches.
  • As students think critically, they consider alternative perspectives and seek out missing or marginalized voices.

 Personal and Social

Collaborating is closely related to the three Personal and Social sub-competencies: Personal Awareness and Responsibility, Social Awareness and Responsibility, and Positive Personal and Cultural Identity. For example:

  • Participating in the supportive interactions and collective efforts of collaboration enhances students’ positive identity development including their relationship to others and their membership in various groups.
  • As students take on diverse roles and responsibilities during collaborative activities, they learn to appreciate how their own ideas and strategies can be helpful to others.
  • Collaboration involves building relationships, contributing to community, valuing diversity, and solving problems in peaceful ways.

Connections with areas of learning

Collaborating is embedded within the curricular competencies of the concept-based, competency-driven curriculum. Curricular competencies are focused on the “doing” within the area of learning and include skills, processes, and habits of mind required by the discipline. For example, the Collaborating sub-competency can be seen in the following Big Ideas in Career Education:

  • Effective collaboration relies on clear, respectful communication. (Career Education K-3)
  • Leadership represents good planning, goal-setting, and collaboration. (Career Education 6-7)
  • Engaging in networks and reciprocal relationships can guide and broaden career-life awareness and options. (Career Life Connections)

Handprint Turkeys

A student teaches her classmates now to make handprint turkeys.


Save Fred: Collaborative Problem-solving

Students work in groups on a problem-solving challenge called “Save Fred”.


Making a Hockey Rink

Students make a hockey rink with whiteboards.


Reflecting on a Musical Performance

A student reflects on her performance singing a duet.


Addressing Climate Change Through a WE Wellbeing project

Students design community service projects related to climate change as part of a WE Wellbeing project.


You Mud?

Two children sit together and observe each other as they spread mud on an outdoor table.


Exploring Factors that Effect Motion

Students collaboratively create ramps to explore the forces that effect motion.


Designing Animal Habitats

Students use classroom materials to design models of animal habitats that provide animals with what they need to survive.


Making Newspaper Shoes

Students work in small groups to make newspaper shoes.


Domino chains

A few students start making domino chains and spark a class activity.


Teaching Younger Students How to Use an App

Older students teach younger students how to use an app to represent their learning.


What We Want in a Playground

Students work in pairs to discuss and build their ideal playground using classroom materials.


Developing Ground Rules for Literature Circles

Students reflect on their previous experiences with collaboration in order to develop ground rules to use in novel study Literature Circles.


Developing a Classroom Constitution

Students initiate the development of a Classroom Constitution and collaborate on both the plan and the product.


A Compromise

When two children’s ideas about an imaginative story diverge, one of the children finds a compromise. 


Junior Fire Crew

First Nations students reflect on the collaborative aspects of working on a fire crew.


Collaborative Writing

Students work in small groups to write a story about an animal.


Organizing an Orange Shirt Day

A student, inspired by a novel about a girl’s residential school experience, gathers further information and, four years later, organizes an Orange Shirt Day at her school.


Hold High the Torch

After meeting veterans at a Remembrance Day event, a student forms a group dedicated to intergenerational connections between students and veterans.