What are the strategies that this unit will focus on?
The primary strategy that the unit will involve will be to get the students to interact more with each other and learn to have purposeful conversations in a respectful manner. Team building will teach individuals how to communicate effectively, cooperate, and be problem solvers in difficult situations. As teachers we know that it is very important for our students to work cooperatively in small groups, so by teaching these students will be able to apply them to real world situations.
Team building strengthens the group of people as well as motivates them to become more familiar with each other. Bonds are reinforced and team members feel more inclined to produce a project that is carefully crafted. Team building is shown to have positive effects on teams as long as the group building activities are not asking someone to be put in an awkward predicament because then the individuals will back down rather than cooperate and the exercises will have the opposite effect. This strategy will be most effective when students are unfamiliar with each other but eager to learn more and form these closer classroom bonds.
Another strategy that is equally important is teaching the students empathy, which will be done through the shadowing activity because it will ask the students to change their perspectives on the stereotypes surrounding the various jobs of the support staff. When the students perform the job of the support staff, then they will be able to gain new insights about the manner of the job rather than make fun of it or mock it because of lacked knowledge. The students will gain the knowledge that they need in order to make better judgments about the job that the support staff performs on a daily basis.
Student discourse, another great strategy used in the unit, can serve an important function: to engage learners, connect student experiences, and increase comprehension of the subject matter. Students will determine what is the most meaningful to them and start to build their relationships with others from there. According to Boise State University's Jeffrey Wilhelm, "By bringing the students' background knowledge to the learning table, students will find ways to connect to the topic and will have activated some basis for creating meaning for what they are discussing and students are in charge of their own learning through questions about and discussion of the topic with peers, parents, and teachers." This inquiry based learning approach promotes student led discussions and invites more learning about the subject. Discussion synthesizes the inquiry that surrounds the topics. Students need to be able to share ideas without a fear of ridicule.