• Mountain Village Foundation

Importance of Encouraging Team Work

“Teamwork is the secret that makes common people achieve uncommon results”. - Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha.

How many times did you get to work in teams when you were in school? Maybe as part of a sports team or when you participated in a school performance. Teachers in a traditional learning environment do not usually give group assignments or group projects. Most traditional schools also discourage team work because the process is considered noisy and will lead to indiscipline. However, today New Age work spaces encourage working in teams for the several benefits it provides. If you have to keep pace with the times, it is important for teachers to encourage teamwork in all aspects of learning right from a young age.

Working in teams allows students not only to grow as individuals, but also prepares them to work on their weaknesses and experiment with their strengths. When students discuss and explore various concepts in teams, they tend to develop tolerance and respect for other team members, which often helps them to meet team goals easily and everyone learns in the process. In fact, most employers look for individuals who have high emotional quotient and who can work with a diverse group of people.

Why is teamwork important?

Here are seven reasons why team work is an important skill to have in today’s world:

Teamwork motivates unity in the workplace: Working in teams builds a strong sense of loyalty and friendship towards fellow team members. This encourages them to work hard, cooperate with each other and most of all be supportive towards each other. In such a competitive world, you feel encouraged when you have team members who value your inputs and support you in tough times.

Teamwork offers constructive feedback: When you work in teams, you can learn from the new ideas, thoughts and insights that the different team members share which are based on their diverse experiences. This ensures that all team members grow and the chances of meeting the team goal becomes higher.

Teamwork provides great learning opportunities: Teamwork helps in creating a space where even if you don’t have an answer, you know you have access to the expertise from within the team. With the feedback that you receive from multiple team members, you have the opportunity to always work on your blind spots. This could also lead to learning new skills or developing a new mindset which could come handy at any point in your career.

Teamwork promotes workplace synergy: working in teams builds a sense of responsibility in each team member. When all the members are aware of their individual responsibilities and roles, they can work in a more synchronized manner. This builds a team identity and also encourages other teams to collaborate, thus increasing workplace synergy.

Teamwork teaches essential social skills: Teamwork apart from just helping a team to complete their task, also helps team members to develop other important skills like effective listening, communicating etc. This increases the speed at which people learn and also makes team members confident to showcase their ideas in front of others.

It improves Self - Confidence: working in teams assures the students that their voices/ideas/thoughts are being heard, respected and valued. This automatically boosts confidence and encourages more participation. This is also a chance for the quiet ones to share their views and ideas comfortably.

Now that you know how important team work is in today’s world, you are bound to agree that this is a necessary skill that must be built right from a young age.

How to foster teamwork:

Team work can be built in any situation whether at home or outside or in school. Here are some simple ways in which you can help your child or students to become team players from a young age:

At home: You can organize weekly activities for the neighborhood children like weekend games or weekend no-fire cooking competitions or tree plantation drives. Children will work in teams, collaborate with each other to complete fun tasks, helping them to also build skills like effective communication.

In classrooms: For a teacher, planning team tasks can be good fun. Teachers can bring in creative and exciting ways to build teamwork based on their students’ interest. Some ideas that you can include for building teamwork are plan a games day for the school, organize a bake sale to support a cause, plan a class project based on the content the students are studying, etc. Here are some steps for a teacher who is planning teamwork:

Step 1: Plan a team task: - when planning a team task keep in mind that it should satisfy both learning goals and provide students best and equal opportunities to practice the task. While designing the task ask yourself what is the outcome you want to achieve from this task/collaboration?

Step 2: Forming a team: - this can be done in any of the following processes-

● Random selection

● Facilitator/teacher selection, where you get to assign the teams.

● Self-selection, where the students get to make their own groups/teams.

Step 3: during teamwork

Once the teams start working on their projects, they should be reminded to

● Work together on the same task

● Give feedback to each other

● Set roles and responsibilities for each member

● Keep a time check

● Consider each other’s opinions

● Take responsibility for the outcome, be it positive or negative

● The facilitator should monitor student’s progress and provide feedback to them.

Using these techniques in the classroom will help students to grow in a holistic manner where they are not only working as a team inside the classroom, but also building strong bonds with one another outside the classrooms.

As Bill Belichick has said, “On a team, it’s not the strength of the individual players but it is the strength of the unit and how they all function together”

This is exactly how you would want your students to work and grow together. This skill will prepare them for a longer run in this ever-changing world.

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