Team Work: More than Just Sitting Together

As we are using the pedagogy of Me, Family, Community, we need to work carefully to teach exploration of these areas explicitly. After some discussion about how to teach Family we determined to use the format of Patrick Lencioni who wrote The Five Dysfunctions of Team, but take it from the angle taught by Neil Smith, a professors at VIU, and look at the Five Functions of Team.

Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Five Dysfun ctions of Tesm

This image comes from the following link: Cayenne Apps

We felt that it was essential to teach the kids a model for teamwork that would allow them to lean into the work and share a common language. In each stage we tweaked the language to come from a positive slant. Using our iPads each Family drew the following list in positive language, and focussed on what it looked like to have each of the skills or “function”.  We then taught these functions explicitly. What helps build trust? What is predictive trust (being on time, doing what you say you will etc.), what is vulnerability trust (being comfortable sharing ideas, worries, problems excitement etc.)? they moved through each stage, researched and determined for the group what this looked like for them, then put together their own Norms, and Protocols for their family group. In this way they had to predetermine what they would do if there were difficulties, what would they do if they were tired and not on task, if someone did not do what they said they would, if someone was absent for a long period of time. Then as a class we went through what other groups determined was good practice to adopt and adapt, remembering that building off the thinking of others helps us all move forward stronger.


These family norms and protocols were amazing! They really helped change conversations from “How are we a teachers responsible for family control” To “How is each Family going to resolve their concerns” It also gave us an incredible opportunity to talk about self regulation, what will you do if you are no longer in a highly functioning place. Some determined 10 minutes of shooting hoops, reading, a walk around the school etc. We had to have a big discussion about how they as individuals knew what they needed to refresh and reset, and we as teachers were not policing the families, our role is support. The kids never abused the privileges of choosing their own space to work, or how to refocus because they shaped them together, had us sign off on them, and felt an intrinsic pull to use their own solutions responsibly. It reminds me of what my F.A. John Stockdale used to tell us in our practicum work many years ago. “If you want to teach children kindness create opportunities to practice kindness, if you want to teach them responsibility give them things to be responsible too. Kids are human, and humans learn by doing.”

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