Communication and Social Emotional Growth in Teams

Elizabeth Boyle
Eighth-grade 21st Century Literacy teacher, Walnut Middle School, Grand Island, Nebraska

I have seen a lot more productive conversations that kids are having compared to years past. There’s always the kid who is very content to allow other students to do the learning, and they can kind of just sit and listen. And what I’ve seen is a lot more active participation on the part of all of the kids. Really, one of the things that has been a surprise this year is how quickly kids will move into a position to take care of a group member who is struggling or not understanding and asking questions. Even just gentle questions: ‘Okay, what do you think?’ and ‘Well, what was your opinion on this?’ It’s not something we always get to see from 13- and 14-year-olds. So that’s been an exciting transformation, the care and concern they have for each other as learners.

Source: Toth, M.D., & Sousa, D.A. (2019). The power of student teams: Achieving social, emotional, and cognitive learning in every classroom through academic teaming (p. 36). West Palm Beach, FL: Learning Sciences International.