The teacher needs to class the keep on task toward a common goal. The goal is to learn how to learn new skills, knowledge and abilities. Students have many technology distractions. I use classroom guidelines to keep control of the classroom. It is important to keep the classroom safe and affirming.
Here are the guidelines I use for my community college team building class.
Arrive on time Make learning your business, you are not allowed to listen to I-pod, wear headphones, or use Bluetooth cell phones
Do not schedule other activities during class time - however if you must leave a class, inform your teacher at the beginning of the class that you must leave and at what time
Adopt a positive attitude - having a positive attitude ensures that your open to learning. The two questions guaranteed to turn any teacher off are: "Are we doing anything important today?" and “Do we get out early? “
Students should not carry on personal conversations during class. If a student has a question concerning the course material, the student should ask the professor, either during or after class. Other conversations, such as "passing notes" or "text messaging" on cell phones, PDAs, Pocket PCs, or keyboards are also not acceptable while class is in session. If a student has a laptop, they will not surf the web, play games or participate in instant messaging that is not related to class activities.
Cell phones, pagers, timers or any similar device should be turned off before class starts. Calls should not be answered while class is in session. In the rare event that a student must be able to receive a call during class, the student should notify the teacher before class begins of the problem, set the phone to a silent ring and quietly leave the classroom to answer the phone.
Unless instructed by the professor, students should not work on homework assignments in the class. Students should not leave the classroom early. If under special circumstances, a student must leave class early, the student should inform the instructor at the start of class. In addition, in these circumstances, the student should sit next to an exit and avoid walking in front of the instructor.
Be aware of your choice of words - Vulgar language is definitely not appropriate. Make sure your language is acceptable for the classroom environment. Your choice of words should fit the situation. Students should not put away their books, materials and personal belongings before the end of class. Students should realize that this behavior is disruptive to the class
Practice the Golden Rule and one person speaks at a time.
The key to classroom team building is to break your students into small groups to work in collaboration with case studies, projects or business plans. I have found the best size is 4-5 students. Smaller the number you run a risk of lack of input and resources. If you have more than five, you will have social loafers. I simulate each team with a task to develop a small business plan. The team must create a mission statement, develop a commercial, website and write a business plan. At the end of the class, the teams must present business plan presentation to panel that are in the role of bankers.
The panel does an evaluation on the team performance. The peers do an evaluation too. Each team has a CEO, Vice President, Accountant, IT, HR and Marketing. The first time I taught this class I did not have leaders and it was chaos. A bad leader is better than no leader at all. I’ve had good teams and bad teams. Classroom team building can be a challenge, but also rewarding.