The beginning of a lesson is probably the most important part of the lesson. It can make or break how the rest of your lesson goes. Start well and you will feel comfortable and so will your students. In this blog post we will take a look at the two types of beginnings and how to begin a lesson in a way your students won’t forget.
The Very First Lesson
The first day. This is the very first time you will see your students and your students will see you. The first fifteen-thirty minutes of this lesson is going to be the most important. You can start with a bang and get everyone to like you and look forward to your future classes or you can simply scare them off… the choice is yours.
In the beginning of this lesson, you will be spending your time getting to know your students. You need to use interesting ice-breakers to break the ice and leave an impression. There are many ice-breakers at the tip of your fingertips (i.e. google) and with experience you will discover what works well for you and the group of students you are teaching. When deciding on which ice-breaker to use you must keep the following questions in mind:
- How many students are there in class?
- What level are your students at?
- Is this half way through a course? (meaning students know each other, but you are the only newbie in the room)
So, for example if there were 30 students in one class, you need a quick ice-breaker that is interesting and doesn’t take too long either. If this isn’t the first class for your students and you are joining them mid course, the ice-breaker should not be one where they introduce themselves to their neighbours (for example), as they already know each other.
This is how to begin a lesson if it is the first time you are meeting your students. Now, let’s take a look at the following lessons.
Any Other Lesson After the First
Whether it is your second class or your forty-second one, there will probably be no need to do ice-breakers again in its traditional sense. Meaning spending a good portion of the lesson on intros and getting to know each other. So, how should you start these lessons? Should you just go into the lesson or is there a better way? Without a doubt, there is a better to start instead of just going into the lesson content itself. You can do one of three things and it may depend on your purpose, aim of the overall lesson and the timing of the class. It’s a good idea to vary what you do.
The first thing you can do is review something you did in the last lesson. So, if this blog post itself was a lesson, I will start the next lesson by asking you to prepare an ice-breaker for an imaginary class. This way, we review what we did last lesson, it’s interesting as it gets you participating and it doesn’t dive into any material. Also, a side benefit is that it allows those who were absent to catch up and get a gist of what they missed.
The second thing you can do is a creative activity that gets the students thinking about the upcoming lesson without explicitly teaching the particular point. This is ideal for grammar teaching and we will look at this in a later post.
The third thing you can do is to start a lesson with something completely unrelated to any of your classes. An activity or a fun game to get students to wake up and get ready for class mentally. This is ideal for the first class of the day if it is early morning. It wakes up those that are tired and it caters towards late comers too as they don’t miss anything.
In this post we looked at how to begin a lesson. I hope this has given you ideas ahead of your first day. Also, just some things to keep in mind when starting a lesson. It is super important, do not belittle the start of a lesson.