3 Easy Ways to Encourage Teamwork in the Classroom

Working together as a team is an essential skill that students of all ages can master. Teamwork allows students to grow and learn from one another’s ideas, gives introverted students the opportunity to come out of their shells, and introduces students to new perspectives and experiences that are different from their own. Educators who are looking to introduce more teamwork in their classroom are encouraged to try out one of these three easy strategies!

  • Add an incentive. Students can be more engaged with the idea of teamwork if they are incentivized to work alongside their peers. From offering stickers to young students who write and present a story with a friend to offering extra credit for team presentations, there is an endless number of ways to incentivize students to brainstorm as a team.
  • Use team projects instead of group work. Many teachers confuse and conflate the ideas of group work and teamwork. Group work is largely independent, even when students are grouped with their peers. For example, if students are all assigned a single problem but they are each required to turn in their own work or paper, this group work will not engage students with their fellow classmates. Instead, introduce an activity in which students turn in a single project that they worked together on. Students who create a group PowerPoint presentation on a history subject or a collaborative art piece receive more exposure to the thoughts and ideas of their peers.
  • Try out a blended classroom. If you are able, embrace the blended classroom strategy for a day. Blended classrooms use a series of “labs” centered around different subjects to introduce students to a number of concepts in a single day. Students at each lab work together to solve a communal problem under the leadership of the teacher, who knows each student on an individual level. If you’d like to learn more about introducing your students to the blended classroom model, The Teacher’s Academy offers a blended classroom instructional course as part of their professional development for teachers in Pittsburgh.

Teachers who want to learn more about building a dynamic classroom and who still need to complete their Act 48 hours are encouraged to check out The Teacher’s Academy’s professional development courses for teachers in Harrisburg. Our course catalog includes instruction for teachers of all grades and skill levels and can be found online at https://www.theteachersacademy.com.

3 Ways Teachers Can Cultivate a More Inviting Classroom for Students with Special Needs

Students with special needs may require a bit more assistance in the classroom, but these students have the same hopes and aspirations when they come to school as any other student — they want to be respected, they want to make friends, and they want to move towards a bright future through education. Teachers can help create a more welcoming environment for students with special needs by taking the following three simple steps:

Dispel myths and misunderstandings about students with special needs

If you are teaching in an inclusive classroom, some students may hold negative preconceived notions about students with special needs. Students may believe that students with special needs do not have feelings, are “brave” just for existing, or that students with special needs live vastly different lives from able-bodied students. Dispel some of these common myths by reminding students that having special needs does not make someone less intelligent or capable, that there are some disabilities that cannot be seen, and that students with special needs are people with fears, aspirations, and friends just like able-bodied students.  

Promote ownership of the classroom space

Promoting ownership of a classroom can help students with special needs feel more connected with his or her peers and welcome in their space. Invite students to work together to create a seasonal bulletin board or organize a section of the classroom.

Take a course on inclusivity and diversity

PA Act 48 requirements dictate that teachers need to complete at least 180 hours of approved courses every five calendar years to maintain their certification and keep up-to-date in their field. Why not use this time to learn more about inclusivity and diversity in the classroom? The Teacher’s Academy offers a host of Act 48 approved courses that can help teachers build a more inclusive and welcoming classroom for students with special needs. Consider signing up for our course on teaching strategies for the student with special needs or our workshop on activities for the inclusive classroom to earn your hours and gain useful skills in guiding students with special needs.

Online professional development for teachers in Montgomery County is made easy with The Teacher’s Academy. To learn more about our Act 48 approved courses or our courses on classroom accessibility, give our team a call today at 800-713-1841.