Everyone -- from businesses to sports franchises -- is on a quest to crack the code of the perfect team. Google spent years studying their working teams and determined that success wasn't based on "who" was on a team but on the culture created by the team -- for example, a group that takes turns talking vs. one in which members speak over one another.
Educators are also looking for students who work well together, both socially and academically. Our natural tendency is to rotate students until we discover the right chemistry. However, Google's research shows this isn't the right approach. Instead, we should help students understand how good teams operate and then build a shared set of skills that work, no matter the team's composition. In order for this to happen, students will have to engage in, and reflect on, a variety of collaborative experiences in the classroom. And in response, we'll foster more positive classroom climates, increase students' interpersonal skills, and better prepare them to participate in collective action for change.
Check out these picks to get students working together in teams, practicing good collaboration skills, and reflecting on what makes teamwork important.