The First Session of the Course
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The First Session of the Course
Regardless of the level of the students and the type of the class you are running, the first session of the course is of great importance.
Most students usually attend the first session of the course having a whole lot of questions in their minds about the course, other students in the class, their ability in reaching their goal, exam information etc. You might as well need to bear in mind that your students are from different walks of life, have various reasons for being in the class, and are unequally motivated to do the course. Therefore, the way you handle the first session of the course can be remarkably decisive.
In planning courses, the first session is commonly dedicated to introduction. In an exam class this introduction can be broken down into three categories: introducing students and the teacher to each other, introducing the exam we are supposed to work for, and introducing the course.
Introduction of students and the teacher
Experienced teachers know that icebreakers are a crucial part of their syllabus. As the name suggests itself, it helps students “break the ice” by asking each other some questions or by sharing selected personal information with their classmates. Recommended websites section on our website can provide you with plenty of useful resources in some of which you can find top icebreakers. The famous “find someone who…” is one of them. While students are dynamically working on the icebreaker in the class, the teacher gets a chance to monitor students and familiarizes himself with students’ needs, their reasons for attending the course, the experience and knowledge they already have on the exam etc. Students also get to know their teacher better and it will create a comfortable atmosphere for them to refer to their teacher whenever they need to ask for information or help.
Introduction of the exam
The information we gained previously comes in handy here. Some students do not know anything about the exam they want to take except for its name. You might like to prepare a handbook, a power point presentation, or a weblog to provide students with useful information on the target exam.
Students need to know what the exam contains and this responsibility falls on the shoulders of the teacher. It needs to be dealt with in the first session of the course so that students clearly know what to study for during the course.
Displaying some sample questions extracted from a real exam can be used to introduce students to question types and gives them an idea about what they are going to deal with.
Another way to familiarize students with the target exam is pre-testing. Basically, testing happens in three stages during the course, namely pre-testing, revision testing and mock exams. Pre-testing can happen during the first week of the course, yet it best functions if taken before the course starts, so that the teacher will know what to work on during the course, and students will know what the exam contains and how it tests their knowledge and proficiency.
Introduction of the course and rules of the class
Good teachers always pre plan their courses. If you let your students know about the overall format of the course (i.e. what you are going to teach during the course, how you are going to test your students, when you are going to have practice tests, what course books you are going to use etc.) they will have a clearer view of the sessions ahead and can adjust themselves with the course. Knowing your expectations as the teacher of the class also helps students have a better performance during the course (i.e. homework deadlines, preset dates for revision tests or mock exams, class timing etc.)
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