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Success Through Cooperation: How SWAG Proved That Teamwork Is Key

By Howard Harris, Jr.

Last night at Students With A Goal (SWAG) we played an activity called Photo Finish. The directions of the activity were simple - draw a straight line on the ground and have everyone stand on one side, then when you say go, they have to cross the line at the same time. What seemed like an easy task was actually full of creative problem-solving and took some trial-and-error for the students to figure out how to do it together.

Four Principles of Teamwork

As staff and I watched, what started out as an innocent game quickly turned into something surprising; students from different Akron Public Schools clusters began blaming each other based on stereotypes associated with their neighborhoods or clusters. It was here that staff had to interject and give hard facts that debunked those stereotypes. We then gave them four principles for successful teamwork: knowing the goal, clarifying roles, practicing together, and not complaining.

Teamwork Leads to Victory

It took 15 more minutes for all the students to finally succeed but when they did, it was a huge success! At Students With A Goal, we strive not only to engage our students but also to equip and empower them, showing them that they can beat any challenge they face. This was a great example of this, proving that even something seemingly simple can be improved when you work together as a team with clear goals and no complaints.

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