To ready our children to collaborate effectively, we needed to find a technique to help them understand that only through positive team interactions could they ever hope to achieve inspired outcomes. We knew that any type of passive lecture on the positive and negative behaviors toward team members would be ineffective, boring and a nonstarter, dashing all hope of getting any point across to the children, no matter how important. What we needed was an active teaching technique that would make it easier for the children to explore their values towards others and, at the same time, be fun and engaging.
Roleplaying fit the bill. We handcrafted short vignettes which actively portrayed positive interactions that would have a good chance of inspiring innovation, ideation and participation, and negative interactions that would have less chance of succeeding. We told the children what they should look for in the vignettes, and then waited to see what would happen.
The results were awesome. Not only did the roleplaying keep the children’s attention long enough for them to understand the content, but standing in the shoes of another helped the children to empathize with their team members. Once we had empathy, the rest was easy.