Team building allows students to work together in social situations just as they would in the classroom, their daily lives, or down the road in the workplace. How often are they challenged with a task to do with others where they don’t know how to work in these situations? Team building challenges students to problem solve and execute working with others. It shows them how to be accountable, such a great lesson for middle school students to learn.
Many facilitators like to start groups off with something called icebreakers. They are just as it sounds, activities that break the silence and awkwardness when groups first come together. Even if a group has known each other for some time, team building exercises purposely take students outside of their comfort zone and can sometimes bring on some personal anxiety. Icebreakers allow students to laugh and relax. It brings them together to show them that though they may be challenged today, it is going to be a fun learning experience.
As the groups progress through the day it is great to tailor the activities specifically to achieve some goals with the group. Team building allows students to develop stronger relationships and trust among each other. Certain activities can be designed to improve communication and limit conflict in a group.
Team building often consists of two parts for each challenge or activity. You have the initial activity and then afterwards is time for reflection. This is a time where students truly show how much they’ve learned and how far they’ve grown. During this time, facilitators present the group with questions to guide them into discovering how these concepts affect their everyday lives. Now they don’t typically have “ah-ha!” moments right away but as the day goes on they’re able to go from figuring out why an activity was successful or not and how to improve the next time to actually relating their experiences to their own lives. This is a time that you are not always fortunate to have in the classroom. Here we specifically set aside the introspective time for that growth and development.