Expecting to “go back to the way things were?” Not so fast! After nearly two years of teaching and learning remotely or in hybrid due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear as prominent higher education news outlets Inside Higher Ed,The Chronicle of Higher Education, and HigherEdJobs describe shifts in recruitment and retention of faculty and decreased enrollment due to the lack of remote or online opportunities Academic institutions have the difficult decision to meet both the demands of their faculty, staff, and students while maintaining a quality teaching and learning environment. A major concern with remote and hybrid learning is the lack of teaming up. Successful strategies to address this concern can be done at no additional cost to educational institutions.
Conduct check-ins: While students are joining classes or when faculty and staff are joining meetings, engaging with “non-work” conversations can promote connectivity with others and can build interpersonal relationships. Some great check-in questions may include inquiries like, What is something you are grateful for today? What was the most enjoyable thing you’ve done this week? What are you looking forward to most this weekend? What was your best accomplishment this week? What’s your theme song this week?
Build a community: Blocking out time to do team-building activities can promote teaming and enjoyment. Investing in and maximizing “face-to-face” virtual engagements like escape rooms, mindfulness, and well-being activities/competitions, scavenger hunts, or improv build community. Engaging in these activities builds teams by identifying others that enjoy similar activities, bringing out the talents of members, and personal development. Consider designing learning activities using these strategies for student orientation and classrooms or faculty and staff professional development.
Share leadership: A healthy “push and pull,” within the team helps to drive the achievements of the team. Sharing leadership promotes teaming by providing various team members the opportunity to lead, thus celebrating one’s expertise while simultaneously providing others the opportunity to learn and grow from their peers. The additional benefit of shared leadership is accountability to the team. Evidence systematically shows that student teams reliability outscore the individual on the same assessments and greater retention of knowledge.
Team-based learning provides opportunities to support connectedness, a sense of community, and shared leadership. As students report the “classroom,” teachers can check in with students, and/or students can check in with each other. When students are discussing their specific responses and providing rationales for their thinking, deep learning occurs. During this time, students share the responsibility of being a leader when explaining their rationale for selecting the response, as they are adequately prepared for instruction and can clearly articulate their thinking. InteDashboard supports these teaming strategies through various mechanisms, which include e-Gallery walks and 360° peer evaluations.
Break out of the monotony of “business as usual” and transform your learning environments with these strategies and see your teams build relationships, trust, accountability, and success.
Find out more about team formation through reading our blog post here.