Collaboration is THE skill to teach in in high school…

There are a lot of students out there who have no idea how to truly collaborate.

In my opinion, it is the most important skill to leave high school with. Nothing, absolutely nothing, beats a team rowing in the same direction. Most kids I run into totally suck at it as they have never had the practice.

Facilitating this learning is what I constantly try to do. I have failed a lot, but I will never stop trying to get teams of kids working together to create something of incredible value that not one of them could have done on their own.

I introduce them to team work principles and processes. For the most part, I try to be as hands off as I can and let them make their own mistakes and solve their own problems. I struggle with not totally directing the entire thing. It is so hard to watch them mess things up, get unmotivated, and see negativity rise. I step in when it is absolutely essential to do so. And I am always there to guide it.

Sometimes (a lot of the time!), the individual students within the team just cannot gel; the team dynamic is so askew that the amount of mental energy required to keep it from flying apart is just not worth it. Sometimes, it is important to also just let it go. I trust that even if the project does not work, a film, a play, software, etc…that they have learned an incredible amount of how to work together, how to stay positive throughout the creative process, and how to forgive not only their teammates faults, but their own as well. This is massive learning that happens at different times for everyone which also contributes to the difficulty of team dynamics (especially with hormonal teenagers who have little to no worldly experience).

Collaboration is the major skill deficit that I see in society. We have all been a part of teams that cannot get their s**t together. I strongly believe that having a synced team who are all helping each other is THE biggest advantage in the world today. I want our young ones to leave high school knowing how to really collaborate — to know how to not pursue only their agenda, but support the objectives of their teammates too.