Students not paying attention in class? Students acting rowdy? Thinking of a change in teaching style? As a teacher, you don’t have to! Simply introduce Teambuilding. It’s no surprise that most teenagers have short attention spans. Focusing on studying the whole day takes its toll. Much like in the working world, students need a change from their daily routines to realign their focus and motivation.
What is teambuilding? Teambuilding consists of specially curated games and exercises that train teams of students to work together, think creatively, and overall, take a break from regular routines. Encourages interpersonal relationships. Teachers as facilitators – establishes teachers as not only authority figures but as motivation-drivers.
Not sure how to do it? We’ll throw in some ideas to get you started on your very own school teambuilding both online and in person.
Understanding ourselves is the first step to understanding the world and the people around us. One way to do that is by introducing a right-brain-left-brain activity. Those who more often use the right hemisphere of the brain are generally emotionally oriented; those who use the left brain more tend to be more logical.
Allow each student to explore their left-brain-right-brain tendencies by doing teambuilding exercises. One way to do this is to have students hold their noses with one hand and their ears with another (hands crossed over one another). Then ask them to clap and switch hands in a similar manner. You’ll immediately see how many won’t be able to perform this task without messing up.
With practice, the students get better at it – this indicates that they are using both sides of their brains to coordinate their movement.
Summarise this activity by encouraging them to use both hemispheres of their brain. There are many other activities we can explore to enhance their right-left coordination. You can also test which hemisphere you are more inclined to use.
Some interesting exercises you could try can be found here:
Create a Hologram
Now is the future. Holograms are futuristic forms of visual material. Unfortunately, in the near future, students may not be able to gather physically in a classroom setting. However, creating a hologram is something they can do even through Zoom or Google Meets.
Tell students to get a piece of plastic, folded into 4 triangular sides. Each side will represent a dimension for the hologram video. Next, get the students to record themselves or a member of their team. For the best effects, choose a headshot video. Using Microsoft PowerPoint, instruct the students to duplicate the video on a cross or X, ensuring all 4 spaces within the X are even and the video fits in each. Next, export the video to an MP4 format, ready to be played on a phone. Put the plastic piece on the phone and play the video. The result will be a hologram video right on top of the phone screen.
Here is a demo for how it should look like: Demo
This exercise should be done as a team. But leave it up to the students to decide how they would like to conduct it. The aim of the hologram exercise is to create coordination between team members.
The Tower Exercise, or sometimes called Vision Tower is a simple activity where students are given a number of PVC pipes with strings and end-connectors attached to them. The aim of the activity is to get the pipes stacked up as tall as possible for 1 minute without touching the pipes. Instead, participants hold on to the strings and prevent the tall tower from collapsing.
In this activity, students will be given recycled boxes, tape, markers, scissors, and blades to get started. This activity must be conducted at a beach or swimming pool area. Within an hour, students must complete their boat and assign someone to sit it in. Once done, students race against other teams’ boats to get to the finish line and back. They push the boats out onto the water until they reach a marker and turn back.
The aim of the activity is to trust in the product of your achievement as a team. It is to believe that your boat is the best and your team did everything they could to make it work. If the boat sinks, at least they’ll have a good laugh.
There are various different activities we can conduct to make team building a fun learning activity as well as a bonding time for students. These are simply a few to get us started. What then is the role of teachers in all this? Teachers can be assigned to each team to facilitate and participate too. Teachers can also debrief students after each activity to provide an understanding of the objective of the activity and learnings students can draw from them. Having a teacher present is of course also good for morale and team spirit.
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