The Huddling Culture Starts Young
This blog post is written by our guest, Jaden Moore. Jaden is a junior at Santa Cruz High in Santa Cruz, CA, and is the daughter of a Cisco employee. Jaden’s primary areas of academic interest are math and science. She enjoys all types of sports and competes on her school’s varsity soccer and track teams. This fall season, she is sidelined due to a torn ACL, so she will work on becoming a better pianist during her recovery. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, crafts, traveling, and volunteering at the SPCA. Jaden plans to pursue a STEM-based course of study in college.
My mom told me about a new technology she just launched at Cisco to help people huddle better, because “that’s the new way of working.” That may be the new way of working in business, but it’s not new for kids growing up today. I’m a junior in high school, and I’ve been huddling for as long as I can remember – at school, in soccer, and even at piano lessons. Working in small teams is, in my opinion, the best way to learn, and is really important for success in life.
What I’ve learned is when you work in small teams, it allows each person to be heard and to vocalize their ideas to evolve or solve problems. Group work builds communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. And it really helps to come up with innovative ways of doing things. Some of the best ideas I’ve had have come through group work, so I’m really super excited to hear that there are new technologies that will help us do this better. For example, at this very moment, my mom and I are co-editing this blog on Google docs from different places. Mom says some of the huddle technologies Cisco is introducing also allow co-creation on a whiteboard from anywhere in the world on any device. That’s cool!
Huddling helps the student and the teacher
Since elementary school, my teachers have taught the idea of “3 before me,” which means that you work with at least three other students before asking the teacher for help. This approach continued into high school, especially in Math Academy which are accelerated math classes through group-based learning. We were put into groups where we would learn a new math topic every day. Then, once a week, we were assigned to meet outside of math class for study groups.
Study group, for me, was the best time to ask questions and learn new ways to solve problems. Sometimes, even after the teacher explained a problem, I still didn’t quite understand it. At study groups, I can learn how my friends worked through a problem, which sometimes made more sense to me than the teacher’s explanation. Group-based learning is not only useful for someone who needs help, but it’s also helpful for the person explaining. Sometimes after I explain a way of solving a problem, it also helps me understand the topic even better. Group-based work is still a big part of learning in my AP classes now.
Huddling outside class
Huddling in sports doesn’t necessarily mean small teams, but it can. People usually think of the entire team gathering in a circle at the beginning of a game or at half-time to amp up the players. I have played competitive soccer for more than ten years, and we huddle in small and large groups. Soccer is clearly a team sport, but even here, a small-group huddle is used to work on specific skills — like passing, juggling and ball control. We also huddle to work on strategy. This is where the team collectively shares thoughts of how we can improve or adjust to the opponent’s playing style. Players are free to propose their ideas and critique how the team is playing. This helps the team learn from their mistakes and improve for the next time they play. My mom says that studying the competition is also a common huddling activity at work. That’s a good thing because I’ve had a lot of practice doing this.
I also experienced huddling during music lessons, which is typically a 1:1 activity with the teacher. I’ve played the piano since I was five years old. One thing my piano teacher includes to enhance learning is group lessons. This is where a small group of students around the same age or skill level get together, perform for each other and create new music. This helps to build better performance and listening skills.
Overall, huddling in small groups has been, for me, a great way to give feedback and get critiqued, and to learn multiple ways of solving a problem from different points of view. So, I’m really happy to hear that there are new technologies to help people work well together in small groups. That’s the way I grew up learning and solving problems, and I plan to apply this in college and in my jobs.
You can learn more about Cisco’s huddle solutions here. But if you just want to learn how to huddle better, just grab a couple of friends and tackle a problem. And, hopefully, you have some technology to help you along.