With highly developed interpersonal skills, teens can more effectively work cooperatively. Building these skills, however, can be a challenge, particularly if dealing with teens who shy away from interaction. To make the building of these skills a bit easier to accomplish, engage the teens in question in activities specifically designed to hone these cooperative skills.
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Get teens used to the concept of communicating by presenting them with a communication challenge. Ask your teens to create a silent line-up. Present your teens with a way in which you want them to line up. For example, you could ask them to line up alphabetically by last name. But ask them to complete this line-up without speaking. Tell the teens that they can communicate with hand signs or other physical gestures, but that they must remain silent the entire time, making the task decidedly more difficult than it otherwise would have been.
Force students to talk to others by engaging them in a "Facts Bingo" game. Before the class begins, create a five-by-five grid. In each grid, write a statement that may apply to one or more of the participating teens. For example, you could write the statement "I have been to another country." Create copies of your grid. When teens arrive, give them each a copy and ask them to move about the room, getting signatures from people who fit each category. Reward the first teen to complete their grid and create a Bingo.
"Who Am I?" Card Game
Get students thinking -- and communicating -- with a "Who am I?" game. Prior to class, write down some names of famous people, both historical and current. When students arrive in class, tape one card to each student's forehead. Ask students to move about the room, asking each other "yes" and "no" questions, trying to decide who they are based on the taped card. Reward the first teen to figure his person out.
Blindfolded Obstacle Course
Make interpersonal communication more important by taking away one of your teens' senses. Create an obstacle course in your classroom, moving desks and furniture around to block off parts of the room and make it difficult to navigate. Divide teams into pairs, and blindfold one member of each duo. Select two teams at a time to try the challenge, asking one team member to stand on the opposite side of the course and call out directions to his blindfolded partner, helping him safely navigate the course.
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