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ERIC Number: ED532935
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 21
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
Building Community in the Classroom through Ice-Breakers and Parting Ways
Eggleston, Tami; Smith, Gabie
Society for the Teaching of Psychology
Many instructors are concerned with creating a community in the classroom. Although there are numerous published "ice-breakers," many of these techniques are not specific to psychology courses or have been used so much that the students see them as redundant and cliche. Icebreakers are better if they have relevance to a specific class, are targeted to the appropriate group, and are varied. The best ice-breakers simply are important, relevant activities that have as an additional feature an opportunity for the group to get acquainted. While the technique of using ice-breakers is well known, quite the opposite is the case with ending a course. For example, McKeachie (1999) suggests using ice-breakers, although he does not give specific examples, yet little is mentioned about parting ways. In addition, little research has been conducted assessing the value of providing academic and psychological closure to a course. Many faculty realize that the end of a class can often seem abrupt and anti-climactic (Eggleston & Smith, 2001). The authors believe that parting ways are essential for establishing academic closure (e.g., reviews of the material, post-tests of knowledge) as well as emotional closure (e.g., recognition, taking time to say good-bye). The very best parting way activities combine academic relevance, emotional closure, and make connections beyond the classroom (Eggleston & Smith, 2002). This resource provides a detailed overview of 15 effective ice-breakers and 15 useful parting ways that can be used in many psychology classes, at a variety of levels and for most class sizes. Instructions summarize the activity, provide directions, estimate the time needed for the activity, and suggest the most effective class size, variations, and any materials needed. (Contains 10 references and recommended readings.)
Society for the Teaching of Psychology. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for the Teaching of Psychology