How To Build Teamwork in Your Learners
Why Teamwork Is Important
Teamwork is a highly social activity allowing learners to practice social skills, communication, and consequences. It is an exchange of ideas and respecting of other learners ideas and opinions. The ability to work together as a team is a lifelong skill. It begins with sharing, negotiating and problem solving in early childhood and increases with each new experience where teams and groups are required, through collaboration, to work toward an outcome.
Whether working in large or small groups; in a sports team; on projects; or informal play; there will be a need for some guidance from teachers. Remember teamwork is a learning experience and learners will become more proficient at it with exposure and practice.
Teamwork can strengthen confidence and lift self-esteem as learners participate. It will also enhance social and emotional skills for making friendships. Cooperation, collaboration, commitment and creativity are all skills to be built on as learners work in groups.
What Can You Do To Build Teamwork?
- Be a role model by joining a group. This can encourage behaviours appropriate for group work.
- Know your students and choose groups carefully. Friendship groups often work well together but it is also good experience for learners to work with others, so they can practice new skills.
- Friendly competitiveness should be encouraged and be age appropriate.
- Encourage each team member to decide on a role for themselves in the team. Encourage open discussion of clear expectations. The team needs an organiser and they should take note of a team member’s role.
- The team should be clear on rules and priorities and consequences for lack of team effort.
- As far as possible give the teams autonomy. This is where your clear and concise expectations should come into play.
- Be available for questions and a resource for ideas if asked.
Some learners find it hard to be team players and prefer to work alone so encourage participation and show empathy for their feelings. Throughout life we will be confronted with team situations so encouraging skills for team work within a learning environment can be quite protective for learners.