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Everyone agrees that the rate of change in our world is faster than it has ever been. We notice it in every aspect of our lives. Schools may feel it more than other places. As things are rapidly shifting, one of the things we hear more about is the importance of “soft skills.” These are not quantifiable and typically not part of a school’s evaluation system. However, they are important when setting the stage for a student’s future.

One of those skills is teamwork. How effectively can a student work with one or more others to set a goal, do meaningful work and meet a deadline? We’ve all been in groups where some members participate more fully than others. We know the frustration in doing more than our fair share and we know the wonder when everything clicks and everyone is working together toward a shared goal.

Throughout my teaching career I have learned that I do my best work in collaboration with others. I yearn for the discussion, the give and take and the refinement of ideas that is the result of working with a team. When team members respect each other and have a common goal the end product is much better than it would have been if done in isolation.

Schools are incubators for teamwork, filled with students working together to support, encourage and question each other, learning much more than just the academics they are working on. They learn to have ideas accepted, improved upon and maybe even rejected. Each time they work together, they are learning the soft skills needed to succeed in school and in life.