BY SOFIA MENDEZ
The first day of school brings an awkward tension that not even the most extroverted students can dissipate. It’s never fun to sit in a room full of people you may not know and, more often than not, a student surrounded by strangers will not speak unless spoken to. In a room full of students unwilling to make the first move, action must be taken.
This action is typically taken by teachers who have students participate in an icebreaker. An icebreaker is an activity or game that is used to welcome students and start conversations among participants.
Icebreakers can vary in content. The goal is to include as many people as possible within the time the game is played. A few of the popular icebreakers are ranting for 30 seconds at a time or playing “Two Truths and a Lie.”
Although playing icebreakers may be uncomfortable at first, the more students participate, the more they realize that a simple icebreaker has an important purpose.
An effective icebreaker game will open up the conversation in the class and ensure that the students enjoy interacting with their peers. When students don’t know each other, an icebreaker will help them introduce themselves to the other classmates.
“At first it’s kind of nerve-wracking having to play a game with someone unknown,” freshmen Eden Hetcher said. “But at the end of the day, I know it’s worth playing because I make new friends every time.”
Icebreakers play an important role in facilitating communication and participants’ comfort level. Communication helps students express their own ideas and feelings as well as understand those of others.
“Playing an icebreaker has taught me a real-life skill such as communication,” sophomore Rheanna Williams said. “I’m usually a very shy person at first but playing any type of icebreaker has really impacted me in opening up to new people and finding out our similarities.”
Playing an icebreaker game reduces the isolation and loneliness a student may feel if they don’t know anyone in their class. The icebreakers ensure that all students are equal participants. A fun activity or challenge can break down the barriers that exist between each student, enabling them to converse with their peers.
Playing icebreakers helps people open up. It gets students to interact with their classmates and to learn from each other. It helps destroy that unpleasant feeling that many students are confronted with when meeting an unfamiliar face. Icebreaker games can make the process of getting to know new people a bit easier and can allow students to work together without the fear of being an outcast.
Photo by Alexa Jaspan