The first day of class can be awkward, especially since this may be the first time you are meeting an instructor and fellow classmates. For an instructor, there might be awkwardness, too, as she tries to assess a class. One class in particular, classroom management, needs icebreaker activities during the first session, considering that much of the course curriculum involves practicum and speeches involving methods for dealing with classroom conflict.
On the first day of class, have students write down and discuss what they expect to learn. Give students at least five to 10 minutes to compile their expectations, then allow them to break up into groups of three. Allow students to introduce themselves and discuss their expectation ideas with one another. After five minutes of group work, hold a class discussion where you ask students to share their ideas. While students share ideas, you can ask them why they want to learn these skills and how they will help manage a classroom.
Before class begins, break your class into groups of three or four. Write different conflict situations on different slips of paper. Example conflict scenarios include a male student argues with a female student because he does not feel a woman should be in the classroom, or two students arguing over immigration views. Once you divide students into groups, have the groups pick a slip of paper and act out the scenario. Two students act as the conflicting students; one student acts as a mediator. Tell the students to come up with ideas on how they would solve the conflict, then, after 15 minutes, have students discuss their ideas with the class. This activity will help students work together to develop problem-solving skills as well as help everyone in the class get to know one another.
Have the class arrange their desks into a large circle. As the instructor, you can sit at the head of the class with a small, soft ball. Create scenarios in which students are required to think about how they would react in certain classroom situations; for example, a student sending text messages when he should be paying attention to the class, or another student who keeps making rude remarks to another student. Pass the ball to students at random and have each student introduce himself before sharing his idea. Have the students record each idea for class discussion in the end regarding whether the ideas are good or if anyone else would have done anything differently.
Write different types of potential classroom issues such as anger, shyness, bullying or lack of studying onto small slips of paper and place these issues in a jar. Have students pass the jar around and choose one behavior or issue out of the jar. Instruct the students to write a letter to their chosen issue or behavior explaining why it will be a problem in the classroom and how they, potential teachers, will quash that issue. After 10 minutes, have each student trade letters with a neighboring student and work together in groups of two to discuss the letters and share ideas. Then have each group talk about what they discovered about classroom management through this activity.
- students image by Ivanna Buldakova from Fotolia.com