Written by Manny Perez
This past week our 6th and 7th grades were both given the opportunity to experience the Team’s Building Course as part of the Porter County Challenge Education Program. Challenge Education addresses a growing concern in our society; working with others. More specifically, we addressed the leader/follower roles in groups, and how to make sure the needs of all group members are met so the overall goal can be achieved.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Challenge Course concept, the students are presented with a variety of obstacles, a story illustrating how they got into the problem, and very limited rules they must follow. While some of these obstacles may be easy for individual students to complete on their own, the challenge intensifies when you must complete the task as a group with a variety of physical abilities and personalities. It was then up to the students to form one group and ensure that everyone was able to complete the obstacle.
What would appear to the casual observer as kids playing outside was so much more to those that were up close witnessing the students mature with each new task. No task had just one correct solution; it was fascinating to watch the students develop new and original ideas to solve the challenges. As the students learned to listen to everyone’s ideas they were surprised to find that leaders within the group emerged from unlikely areas.
For the staff that were able to witness these moments it was heartwarming watching each student learn that everyone in the group is important, and everyone has a part in making a group successful. As the year progresses we hope to incorporate the lessons learned within the classroom.