Good Energy for Grownups: All In! — Teamwork and Empowerment Page
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Recognize great teamwork and empowerment approaches for children and students of all abilities, presented by Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools (R).
[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome to "Good Energy for Grownups-- All In!" with Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools. I'm Tajha. A former US Youth Ambassador for Special Olympics North America. Today, we're discussing teamwork and empowerment with some special guests. Hey, Kaleigh, can you please introduce yourself, please? Of course. I'm Kaleigh Gardner. I am a former middle-level educator focusing in literacy and special education. And I am currently the Education Advisor for Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools. Sophia, can you please introduce yourself? Sure, I'm Sophia Arnold. I'm a high school special education teacher. I teach students with a range of intellectual disabilities. I'm a GoNoodle Teacher Ambassador and a mom of four beautiful children. How do you define and explain teamwork and empowerment to students and children? Well, for me, explaining it to students and children is basically the same. We know that teamwork is everyone working together to accomplish a common goal. In the classroom, that goal can be everyone following classroom expectations to make sure we all have a comfortable learning environment. Again, I bring them in by everyone establishing those expectations together. How about you, Kaleigh? I was just going to say, yeah, I love how you pointed out the role part. Because, yes, teamwork is everyone's working together. But I think it's recognizing your role. Put them in thriving opportunities. I think that makes it more meaningful. The inclusion is stronger. And the team ultimately thrives on and off the field, In and outside of the classroom. Yeah. When is the best time to discuss these terms with children and students? I would say as early as they can have a play date-- understanding sharing. If you share during your play date, you will have a good experience. If you do not, it may end in tears and boo-boos. So just explaining-- I mean, just modeling, again, modeling how to share and introducing it as an early age. But I think really showing that teams exist beyond the field and the court-- they are with our friends. They are in our classroom. And introducing that we do have to work together to create that inclusive and that positive environment-- it's just-- I think it's really important. How can you encourage and empower the independent thinkers and learners to work as a team? So I can say, when I was a little kid going into the elementary schools, it was always me wanting to just show out and be the main person that was always doing stuff. There was no teamwork for me. There was always an "I" for me. Like, I will do this, or I will do that because I never had like an elementary teacher to say, "Hey, Tajha, it's, like, you have to learn how to work as a team." It was always, "Oh, you go do that by yourself. Oh, you don't need nobody. You got this." It was never, "Oh, come together with your classmates and work as a team." It was never that. I think having students that believe and that are independent thinkers is important. We want students to think independently, to learn to problem solve on their own, but we can't let them pigeonhole themselves. Exactly. They need to see how much further they really can go by allowing others to work with them. So giving those roles just helps them see, oh, even if that's not really your strength, you know, I'm not only the speaker. It helps them at least see that we do have to work together sometimes to complete things, so almost like gamifying different projects or activities so that way students do pair up and realize the benefits of working together. Can you share with me an example of how a parent or teacher can empower a child or student? This goes back to us using those positive affirmations. You can do this. You will do this. You are this person. You will be this person. So I think, again, modeling through our words and our actions can definitely help them find their inner grit. I know you used the word grit earlier when we were just discussing our appreciation and reflection and just empowering them to reflect. So I think, again, helping them find their inner strength and their inner-- I guess the word grit again-- to know that they can accomplish something. I also think that you can empower groups to work together, like the teamwork. I know GoNoodle has these great resources to help develop those class routines. So you were saying, like, chores in the house, but also in the classroom. And we need those routines to help a class run smoothly and safely. So if we find these fun, energetic ways-- just like in GoNoodle's music and the videos-- to help teach these routines, they will feel empowered to work together as a team to then have a great classroom. [MUSIC PLAYING]