A team is a group of people working together cooperatively to achieve the same goal. To work successfully in a team, children need to:
– question the task and discuss the best way to go about it
– show respect to all team members and allow each member to have their say
– make collective decisions and ensure that everyone participates -otherwise it won’t be a team effort
– take any concerns a team member may have seriously
– explain why they want to reject an idea – and praise good ideas
– share thoughts to encourage other team members to share theirs
– be constructive if they must criticize
– monitor their motives before they criticize. Would they still criticize if the person was someone they liked better?
– avoid being bossy, and be prepared to accept criticism
– share equipment and allow everyone to have their turn
– cooperate with other members – give help when they need it
– concentrate on the task given and avoid conflict
– communicate clearly so that everyone understands what they are doing and why and what difficulties have to be overcome
– be quick to apologize if they have done something wrong – and be prepared to forgive others their mistakes.
Discuss what a team is.
Help the children to build up a list of rules a team should have to make it work well. Discuss the following questions with the class:
– Sometimes, when working in groups, the same child always takes charge. What could change in the way a lesson is run so that other children get a chance to take the lead? (Mixing groups can break the cycle of the same child being the ‘boss’.)
– What could you do about a team member who doesn’t participate? (invite that person to contribute, ‘What do you think, Tamara?’)
– Do you think you have the skills to be a team player? If you feel you are lacking in skills, how could you gain these skills? (By practising listening and cooperating with other people – friends, parents, siblings and teachers.)
Ask the children to form groups of around six. Give them a task to solve as a team, such as devising a scheme to:
– tackle bullying in school
– prevent litter-dropping and graffiti in school
– raise money for a good cause.
Discuss how well the team operated. Did someone direct the other team Members and help to keep them focused? If so, did they abuse their Power by taking over or did they use it to ensure everyone was included and respected? What team skills did they use? What could have been improved? Would the children be prepared to carry out the suggestions they came up with?