How to start a lesson?
The beginning of a lesson is crucial because the most important part of a lesson occurs during the first five minutes. If the teacher manages to engage students right away and catch their attention, then there is a good chance he or she will not suffer from indiscipline and the delivery of the lesson will go smoothly. It is very important for teachers to start their lesson in a way that attracts students attention and get them ready for the different points teachers want to teach. Many things should be considered to reach this end.
Receiving the students
Everything starts from the time you receive students or enter the classroom. It should be born in mind that bad mood is contagious. It is crucial that you leave your worries behind and shine with a smile in front of your students. Nothing can be more discouraging than coming low-spirited and infecting your students with you low spirit. Here are some tips to take into consideration while receiving your students.
- Smile, smile, smile…
- Don’t start your lesson straight away.
- Start with a joke, a quote, a funny thing that happened to you while coming to work, a question…
- Don’t start call roll to register attendance straight away. This seems too formal at the beginning and it may be done during other moments, for example when students are busy working. If you have a large class send around a piece of paper. But if it is a small class just look round and note so as not to disturb students while they are working.
- The policy of late-comers should be discussed with the students and everybody should agree on the rules to be respected by everybody. As a general rule of thumb, teachers should let students in if they are less than 15 minutes late, but they should be marked as absent if they are later than 15 minutes.
Starting the lesson
When you start the lesson, you should bear in mind that students personal traits, motivation and cognitive potential differ. So to alleviate stress and grab their attention a pre-lesson stage should be well orchestrated.
- Start with teaser questions. Questions that will trigger curiosity and create expectations. Examples:
- Do they have a 4th of July in England?
- How many birthdays does the average man have?
- Some months have 31 days; how many have 28?
- A woman gives a beggar 50 cents; the woman is the beggar’s sister, but the beggar is not the woman’s
brother. How come?
- Why can’t a man living in the USA be buried in Canada?
- How many outs are there in an inning?
- What are the similarities between Eminem and Shakespeare?
- Review the previous lesson by letting volunteers recapitulate the last lesson. Building on previous knowledge makes learning meaningful and less challenging.
- Announce the topic of the lesson, preferably in a compelling way. For example:
If you were a film director and wanted to adapt Othello, what would be a better name for it?
- Writing your objective on the board will give a sense to your teaching. In fact, writing the topic makes your teaching objectives clear to the students and to you. When students know the topic, the different points and the goals of the lesson, this can help keep them focused, construct knowledge and know the progress they are making.