4 Steps Toward Building a Team Mentality
September 17, 2014
When you are an instructor, it doesn't take long to realize how important it is for your students to forge a connection with each other in the class atmosphere. These individuals will be spending a lot of time together, will be learning from one another and may even be performing or competing as a group. And no one likes to feel like the odd one out. (Not even you.) That's why it’s important to build strong relationships and a team mentality in the classroom. These four steps will steer you and your students toward success.
1. Create a class or group identity. Whether it’s through a theme song, a catch phrase, a team name, an inside joke or a mascot- creating a group identity that everyone can relate to is an important step toward fostering an inclusive team environment.
2. Set common goals. Take a survey of the class- ask what everyone would like to achieve over the session or class period. Narrow the list of goals down to a set of 5 or 10 broad concepts that you can achieve during the time that this class takes place.
3. Encourage new connections. Diminish that cliquish feeling of the room by counting students off into groups for activities. Starting in one spot of the classroom, start counting 1-2-3 (up to the number of groups you need) and then begin again at 1. This forces students to group up with new people, not just stick with one or two people they already feel comfortable with. The number and strength of the relationships between students or teammates can directly impact progress as a whole.
4. Be enthusiastic. If you’re not excited to be there, others won’t be either. As a coach or an instructor, your number one job is to teach something new. People who aren’t excited and open to the experience, don’t learn as quickly. Use the group identifier, the goals you set, and experiences over the course of the class as motivators for students. See low energy? Play that song or shout that catch phrase. No motivation? Remind students of their goals and progress. Someone ready to give up? Show them how their involvement is an essential part of the group’s success.