Thursday, February 06, 2020

When and why is teamwork a challenge?

At our student planning meeting the other day, we discussed the fact that teamwork is a challenge for some children. Then we wondered why?

At our grade level, we have been working towards helping all children become better collaborators and team members. We've employed specific lessons to support this quest. Yet, I am not satisfied particularly since some students are still distanced from this goal.

What can we do?

First, it is important to think about the attributes that good teamwork demands. Children have to listen to one another, compromise, choose roles, and do their part. Children that have difficulty as team members typically have a hard time listening, compromising, using patience, and following through by doing their part.

Next, we have to look at the teamwork tasks we're asking students to complete--are we starting too big or are we beginning with just-right tasks? Do we scaffold this teaching goal enough. Have we given the work enough thought? How are we approaching this goal as an entire school, school system?

And, we must consult our own teamwork skills. I've noted before that I work with a couple of educators who were members of sports teams growing up. I find that their teamwork skills are exemplar. They both had very supportive families, but I also think that their experiences playing sports has had a positive effect on their ability to be optimal team members.

Last year, a parent who works in the tech field confided in me that teamwork skills are essential in the work place. He was in full support of the teamwork efforts we are employing at school.

Next week, we'll focus on this goal with depth. What ideas and resources do you think will help us out in this regard?