Monday, November 15, 2010

Team Building in a Physical Education Setting

     As a middle school physical education teacher, I would like to try team building with my seventh grade classes.  The main objective of PE classes is to enhance skills and physical activity in youth.  Even though teamwork is more directed towards sport teams, team building skills may be beneficial in PE classes, developing and improving teamwork skills and values for these kids whether they are presently participating in sport or other after school activities (Carron & Spink, 1993).  These skill will not only benefit these kids in class and in other activities, but also in future jobs or other classes where teamwork may be important to complete a project on time.

     Team building is defined as "team enhancement for both task and social purposes" (Gill & Williams, 2008).  Four aspects that stand out in the team building model are; group environment, group structure, group processes, and group cohesion.  Each one has it's own specific role in developing teamwork/team unity.  Group environment refers to the distinctiveness on the group.  Group structure is the groups norms and positions on situations, event, etc.  Group processes are the groups interaction and communication to solve a problem that may arise.  And lastly, group cohesion is the groups attraction and integration towards task and social purposes (Gill & Williams, 2008).  Also, another important aspect that should be noted and involved is group/team goals and individual goals (Senecal, Loughead, & Bloom, 2008).  This allows the team (class) to set goals as a whole, as well as, allowing individual's to set specific goals directed towards self.

     In the effort to develop teamwork, throughout the semester the students will be given challenges and put into situations to allow team building skills to take place, requiring them to work together.  Each person will asked to partake in different roles within the group, so everyone's given the opportunity to have a sense of accomplishment.  My goal as an instructor is for the class to develop team cohesion and communication skills for other activities, whether it's in a sport, classroom, or work setting.  By requiring everyone to partake in different roles throughout the semester, each student will be able to develop and further improve new and familiar skills, in hopes of developing comfortability in a variety of roles within a team/group.

     The incorporation of team building skills in a PE class will help enhance the development of communication, self-worth, and role ability.  These skills will not only be beneficial in their present class, but also other activities; sports, classes, jobs, etc.  The early development and improvement of these skills will allow the students to feel comfortable and have a sense of accomplishment when they are "thrown to the wolves" or put into a difficult situation.  The confidence of being exposed to the similar challenges, no matter the role they played, will help them extract these skills and apply them.

Carron, A. V., & Spink, K. S. (1993). Team building in an exercise setting. The Sport Psychologist, 7(1), 8-18.

Gill, D. L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological Dynamics of Sport and Exercise (3rd Ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Senecal, J., Loughead, T. M., & Bloom, G. A. (2008). A season-long team-building intervention: Examining the effect of team goal setting on cohesion. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 30, 186-199.

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