One of the key characteristics that employers look for today is the ability to work with a team. It is also a quality that will enhance family and classroom dynamics. Sometimes we think that it is something that a child is just born with, but in actuality we can teach skills that develop this leadership quality.
Here’s how to teach teamwork:
- Lead by example– This is a key strategy. As the adult it is necessary to not only model teamwork but to teach teamwork as well. This means taking advantage of teachable moments by pointing out the options and clearly indicating which ones will best serve everyone involved. It also means demonstrating how you as an adult are a team player. “Students, we are going to work together as a team to put away the math games. Let’s all look for ways that we can help each other.”
- Use language that children understand– Make sure that when you ask a child to do something they understand what you want and expect. “Class, let’s work together as a team” may mean different things to different children. “Let’s all get ready for parent night by cleaning out our desks,” will get better results.
- Allow choices– Children just like adults want to feel they have some control over their actions and giving choices is one way to do that. “Today we will be choosing partners to share our work with. How can you make sure everyone feels a part of the team?”
- Catch them being good-Let a student know that you notice when he cooperates and point out the advantages of teamwork. “Thanks for playing with the new student during recess and including her in your game. I know that made her feel welcome.”
- Let them lead— Encourage children to take initiate: “Today we need to finish our projects and begin to present them to the class. I bet you know the best way to make it happen in record time. What should we do first? Who should do what?”
Developing the ability to work well as part of a community is a process that is continually evolving but it will serve students well as an adult in many diverse settings.
Wyatt the Wonder Dog
Learns about Teamwork
Camping with his Boy Scout Troop is exciting and fun… until Max takes a serious fall while hiking. When Wyatt and the rest of the Scouts use their emergency training to get Max safely out of the woods, they learn the value of teamwork and the power of community to achieve big goals.