Blog Post

Teamwork Practices

By Staff at Weikart from Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality

Staff throughout all the SEL Challenge programs work to establish positive group norms and maintain the cooperative dynamics and participation that are essential to teamwork and to youth learning teamwork skills. Staff play an ongoing, day-to-day role as a monitor-participant-coach of group processes and dynamics. They may also be part of the group and share their personal thoughts when others share.


Teamwork Staff Practices:

Structure | Modeling | Facilitating

This month, we are diving further into the practice of Teamwork.

Staff throughout all the SEL Challenge programs work to establish positive group norms and maintain the cooperative dynamics and participation that are essential to teamwork and to youth learning teamwork skills. Staff play an ongoing, day-to-day role as a monitor-participant-coach of group processes and dynamics. They may also be part of the group and share their personal thoughts when others share.

One of the ways staff facilitate teamwork is by allowing and encouraging the youth themselves to manage the group dynamics as much as possible. Laura Greenlee Karp from Voyageur Outward Bound School (VOBS) said:

They are their own regulators. If there is somebody who is having an off day and is being negative, the group has, hopefully, already come up with how they’re going to handle that.

Situations that escalate or threaten the security of the group may be handled in various ways. Even in extreme cases, such as fighting, the staff may keep the group as a whole involved in deciding how to handle a situation. DeVonne Bernard, director, Teen Outreach Program at Wyman, admitted they have had challenges:

I mean, we’ve had some challenges. We’ve had fights in the program. Some of those have really brought about huge changes in the peer relationships within the groups and even relationships with staff. We really try to understand what happened and what’s going on with the teens. There have been times where, as a group, the whole group decided, “No, we don’t want the person to go.” We’ve really worked on it and tried to make sure that everybody felt like this was a safe place.

Staff cultivate an underlying ethos that youth are accountable to each other, to the group, and to the program. Staff monitor the work of the youth and help manage team challenges. They also hold the youth accountable to the goals and guidelines established and help calm emotions. Staff manage group situations by taking different approaches with different personalities.

For more information about SEL Challenge Program or Teamwork Practices, see https://www.selpractices.org/domain/teamwork

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