For the development of any student, individual attention is very important. It helps them to focus on their strengths and overcome their weak points. But we should also focus on promoting teamwork among students to nurture cooperation and develop a sense of unity among the diverse student groups in the classroom. Teamwork leads to better results as individuals harmonize their contributions and work towards achieving common objectives.
Teachers should Focus on Teamwork
In today’s modern business world, teamwork has become a crucial component. Every company demands individuals who work responsibly with their colleagues, giving priority to achieving organizational goals. They realize that proper coordination, understanding, and sync between individuals can lead to growth of a company.
It is very important for students to learn how to work in team environment in order to attain teamwork skills. These skills will help them when they enter the workforce. Also, research has proven that students learn best from tasks that involve social interactions and working with each other. Collaborative learning should be supported and included in every classroom. But, many teachers struggle to make students work together as one team. They have to come up with foolproof team activities and have to assess the performance of each student in the team individually. Focusing on individual students and promoting teamwork among them is a crucial task that a teacher needs to carry out.
Differentiating between Team and Group Exercises
While conducting activities in the class, teachers should always focus on team building. They should realize that there is a huge difference between a team and a group. In a group, members work independently and often don’t have common goals. While, a team consists of people who work cohesively, understand each other, develop a sense of mutual support, and give more importance to achieve team objectives, rather than individual targets.
In a group exercise, students mostly focus on themselves and are not involved in planning the group’s activities. On the other hand, team members develop a sense of ownership towards their team. As a result, they come up with innovative strategies to help make their team succeed. In group work, members are assigned tasks and their suggestions are rarely welcomed. But, working in a team, individuals collaborate together and use their talent and experience to get the job properly done.
Many a times, in a group, members act cautiously about what they say and are afraid to ask questions. Sometimes they are oblivious of the activities taking place in their group. In a group, many members do not trust each other’s motives as they do not understand each member’s role in the group. Teachers should always consider the above mentioned points to convert groups into to effective teams.
Ideal Characteristics of an Effective Team
Students and teachers should work together as a cohesive unit and achieve the desired objective. The team must have a clear goal; they should overcome personal differences and collaborate with each other. Mindset must be result driven; allowing them to be focused on the results and helping each other along the way.
Competent team members characterize an ideal team. In an education setting, each team of students should be given problems to solve as per their level of knowledge. The team should have unified commitment. They should be directing their efforts towards team goals, and not individual goals. Team members should be honest, open, friendly, consistent, and respectful towards each other. These characteristics will make the team succeed– lack of the same will lead to their failure. Each team member should have high standards and should know each other well. They should know what is expected of them individually and collectively.
Stages of Team Growth
We all know that teams don’t grow immediately. It takes time for individuals to start working together and accomplish great things. There are various stages that a group of individuals can go through in order to transform into an effective team. These include:
Forming: When a group of students come together to form a team, each member cautiously explores the boundary of acceptable group behavior. They try to find their position in the group and figure out which individual is worthy of leading the team. An effective team may take some time to form, but can reap excellent results.
Storming: Storming is perhaps the most difficult stage of team building. In this stage, members may be impatient about the lack of progress, and at the same time are inexperienced about working with each other. Members may feel that they have been pushed out of their comfort zones and are facing unfamiliar circumstances. At this stage, most of their energies are focused on each other, rather than the goal at hand.
Norming: This is the stage where individuals accept the team and overcome their differences. Emotional conflicts are converted into relationships characterized by cooperation and understanding. As a result, they focus more on the work and progress gradually.
Performing: By this stage, the team members come to know about each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They become well aware of their roles and responsibilities. Individuals become more open and build a strong bond of trust. Students are no longer afraid of giving suggestions to solve certain problems. They become comfortable at taking decisions, evaluate ideas, and prioritize tasks. At this stage, the team works as a well-oiled machine and gets the job done efficiently.
In today’s highly contentious work environment, team work is a must-needed skill. Team exercises conducted in the classroom can be highly beneficial to the students. Teachers can plan interactive and interesting tasks to boost team participation. These classroom sessions can provide students with valuable learning experiences, which can help in their career growth.
– Ananda Kamal Das