“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want go far, go together.” This is the African proverb that Nathalie Vallarino, of the Psychopedagogy Department, uses to encapsulate Covey’s sixth habit. To her, synergy is about teamwork, because joint efforts will always be more productive than tasks carried out by yourself.
“As teachers, our mission is to educate children,” she explains. “It is easier to achieve this as part of a team because of the sum of experiences we bring to the table.”
Of course, synergizing is not just about how the educators work in teams to get results, but also the way they convey the importance of teamwork to their students. Vallarino explains just how tricky this can be with very young children given their individualistic nature. “The work starts with the concept of sharing. Sharing, in itself, is an act of negotiation and synergy. Not only sharing objects, but sharing responsibilities, which is the keystone of functional teamwork.” The activities are tailored to their age, using play time as a perfect space for cognitive growth.
As students grow older, the idea is to teach them to talk things out with their teammates in order to reach common ground and work together as equals, basically giving them the freedom to choose how they’ll carry out work by deciding among themselves.
In Coronado International School, this is what we strive for in terms of the 7 Habits: to instill in our cares a sense of being their own individuals, but still respecting the opinion of others enough to find ways to work jointly in order to achieve goals.
Nathalie Vallarino has worked with several students. As a member of the Psychopedagogy Department, she is perfectly positioned to understand what the right techniques are in order to get the best results. And, as she herself points out, this is key in order to have our students go the distance, together.