When I read the chapter about Collaboration in Rheingold’s book NetSmart, it made me think of the color guard that I teach. The Color Guard is the dancers, flags and weapons that perform in marching band shows. I did it professionally for a while and now I teach high school color guards. Anyways, the chapter was an immediate connection in my mind to my team. For them to spin together, they have to count together and do everything at the exact same time. Everything from where your flag is in space to when you breathe in and out. This requires Collaboration: “enhancing the capacity of other’s for mutual benefit and to achieve a common purpose by sharing risks, resources, responsibilities, and rewards.” They do all share a common purpose, which is to win competitions and entertain/impress their audience. And to do that they need to share their information but I also need to share all my information with them. Responsibility is also a HUGE part of color guard. Not only do we teach responsibility to help them in their lives; but its required for their immediate success. Its their responsibility to show up to every rehearsal, or they will miss information and hold back the entire group. Its their responsibility to bring all their equipment to rehearsal including water, so that they can appropriately participate in rehearsal.

“Attention is a fundamental building block of social cooperation.” You have to pay attention to each other. They have to pay attention to us, the instructors, but also each other. Sometimes performers will not pay attention to the other performers and not be in time with everyone else. They have to count, listen and watch to stay “clean” (spinning completely together). All aspects of attentions are required all at the same time. Which is challenging for high school girls, but they are learning!


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