First lesson of the year
Hello there! I'm a new teacher in charge of her own groups for the first time this year, having had the experience of substituting for absent teachers once or twice before. My groups are all FCE level; two of them are new to this, while the other two have taken the course or the exam before. My question is: how should I approach the first lesson of the year? The grammar points on the first unit of my coursebook are question forms and propositional phrases; while I didn't want to dive entirely into that from the first day, I thought I'd like to start setting it up for them with some basic activities/conversation, but I don't have a clear idea of what to do or what could be useful. In general, how do you plan your first lessons and how much do you rely on the coursebook to get started? Thank you in advance!
Re: First lesson of the year
In your first class, you are trying to do several things:
-develop a good class dynamic
-assess your students' level
-present course information and guidelines
One way of accomplishing the first two is to have students interview each other in pairs, and then present their partner to the class. Depending on their confidence/level, you could brainstorm a list of questions to ask during the interview. After the oral activity, you could have students write a biography of their partners, which gives you further info about their level/needs. (Always make it clear that students don't have to answer questions that they are not comfortable with).
As a warmer, I've often brought in pictures or items of mine that I thought would make students curious, and told them I would answer any questions if the questions were grammatically correct. Students then worked in groups to generate questions. Another possibility is to write the answers to some personal information questions on the board, and students work in groups to create the questions.
In introducing course outline/schedule/expectations etc. you could have students tell what they expect to learn in the course, what they think students need to do to succeed in the course, etc, and then you can go over your course info with them.
Oh- one thing I always tried to do with a new class is ensure that I knew everyone's name by the end of class, and that all the students were comfortable with most of the names by the end of class.
I hope this helps.
Re: First lesson of the year
I fully agree with Mary. I would also add that this provides you the chance to outline your expectations. If speaking is important, then students must realize that they will need to speak and actively participate. If homework is assigned, then the students must realize that they will need to do homework regularly.
In short, students must be allowed to realize a fun, creative learning environment that also has clear boundaries and expectations. After all, they must also take responsibility for their learning.
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