What kinds of activities are common among teenagers who work well with others?

The latest report from the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) finds that 15 year old students who are physically active, engage in social activities outside of school and help out in their household also have high collaboration skills.

The report highlighted New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Korea, Singapore and the USA as countries with the highest relative performance in collaborative problem solving on average and whose students are among the world’s best in working together with others. It discusses how selected activities are associated with attitudes towards teamwork and collaboration as well as achievement in collaborative problem solving.

The report draws on information published in the PISA 2015 report on the performance of 15 year olds in collaborative problem solving and the contextual factors related to this performance.

Main findings

The report says:

  • That students who engage more in moderate physical activities, such as walking or riding a bike, for at least an hour a day, were better at collaborative problem solving. 
  • That students who access the internet or social networks outside of school collaborate better than those who don’t. 
  • That students who do household chores or take care of their family members enjoyed teamwork more than those who didn’t.

Collaboration skills are vital at work

Social skills and the ability to collaborate are some of the traits that employers value more and look for in its workforce. People who demonstrate high level of these skills are becoming more in demand than ever before. Students should be encouraged to develop and hone these skills so they can function effectively at work and in society at large.

We welcome the report’s findings. Parents, schools and communities can encourage teenagers to engage more in physical activities, social interaction and helping out around the household. This should be combined with school activities that teach and develop students’ collaboration skills.


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