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Health ed class can be a scary experience for some students. Teenagers are often uncomfortable talking about issues pertaining to their body and their physical health. This can be due to low self-esteem or a general lack of knowledge about the human body and its functions. As a health education teacher, it is important to be sensitive to each student's comfort level with the material.
Discussing comfort levels as a group can serve as a great team building activity. When students are given the opportunity to see that others struggle with the material as well, it creates a sense of trust and community within the classroom.
Model the activity by talking about some of your own fears and thoughts you had as a growing teen. This is a good way to get the conversation flowing on a more comfortable level. Encourage students to share their own thoughts and feelings, comparing them to the rest of the class.
Divide students into groups of two or three and have them interview each other by asking the following questions:
- Are you nervous about taking this class? Explain.
- What is the most uncomfortable health education topic to talk about?
- How do you feel about having boys and girls in the same health education class?
- Is there anything that you would like to learn about in this class?
- As a teammate, how can I help you out in this class?
Encourage students to meet in these same groups periodically. Be sure to explain the important positive benefits of team building to your students.
You may want to have a set time once a week for this group to meet and discuss their thoughts and feelings about the class. As each team develops, it may be appropriate for members to exchange contact information to work on projects together outside of class.
Make sure that students feel comfortable sharing in their groups and strongly encourage teammates to be respectful of one another by not sharing private information shared among the group with other classmates or students.
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The simplest way to encourage team building is to have students work in groups to create a presentation. Group work naturally causes students to work together and learn about one another in a way that develops a sense of trust. Students must rely on each other to participate in the activity and complete all parts of the assignment.
As the project moves forward, group members are forced to figure out ways to deal with team challenges such as lack of participation. In order to get the most effective team building skills out of group activities, make sure to treat students as a team. Encourage them to develop a team name and refer to them as a team at all times.
Health education students often work well together when there is a common interest. Many students are passionate about their future and developing careers. Divide students up into groups depending on their interest in the field of health care and health education. Then have students work together as a team to research information about their desired profession such as a general description and the education needed to pursue this career.
The following is a list of some possible careers students can choose from:
- General Doctor
- Physical Therapist
- Personal Trainer
- Health Educator in Public Schools
- Massage Therapist
- Occupational Therapist
- Speech Therapist
- Nursing Home Administrator
- Plastic Surgeon
Have each team fully research their chosen career and perform a group presentation in front of the class. This is an excellent time to encourage use of media and technology including Internet research and PowerPoint presentation formats.
Be sure to give students a thorough grading rubric with a clear listing of all expectations for the assignment. You should include a section on the rubric to reward group members for practicing good team work.
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Games and Activities for the Health Education Class
There are also many subtle ways to incorporate team building into your class. The following are a few games and activities that will encourage cooperative learning and build trust among students
Body Parts Relay Race
This game can be played when studying a unit on human anatomy. Divide students into two or three teams depending on class size. Draw a basic figure of the human body for each group. Have students line up and call out different body parts for them to draw. When a student is at the board, they are to draw the body part and correct any mistakes that they see from previous group members. The goal is for students to work together to depict and accurately fit in all body parts. The team that finishes first wins the game.
Health Education Pictionary
Divide the class into two or three teams and have them take turns drawing on the board in a classic style of the game Pictionary. Before beginning the activity, choose words or phrases pertaining to health education. Cut these words and phrases into strips and have teams take turns silently drawing clues on the board. Give each team 30 seconds to guess for each round. The team with the most points wins.
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Team building is all about creativity. Try out some of the ideas listed above, or modify some of your favorite games to encourage students to learn about health education while building social skills and participating in a cooperative learning environment.
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All games and activities were created by the author based on work experience.