Your first time as a teacher with a new class can be a knee-knocking experience. But include a blend of these ideas to add structure and set the tone for future classes and you can’t go far wrong.
1. Get your students speaking English as soon as possible
This could be through a quick getting to know you game that’s easy to explain. Such activities set the tone; implicitly you are saying ‘English is spoken here’. Plus it helps break through any inhibitions regarding speaking English at the outset.
See the video below to watch Louisa explaining a simple getting to know you exercise to a new class.
2. Find out why they are learning and what they need to do in English
If you can discover this before the class, then super. But when that’s not possible, turn the discovery process into an English activity. For example, write 4 questions on the board:
- Do you like communicating in English?
- Why do you want/need to learn English?
- What are your weaknesses in English?
- What would you like to focus on in class Ð speaking, listening, writing, reading, a mixture, or something else?
Give students 5 minutes to write some responses on their own.
Then ask them to compare responses with a partner for another 5 minutes.
Then, get 1 or 2 students to stand up to give their partner’s response to the whole class.
Take in the written paper at the end. This will help give you an idea of the written and spoken level of the class and a clue as to their needs – and so what type of tasks to prepare for future classes.
3. Body language and control
Do take control, speaking to the whole class clearly and slowly, and not to the board or the 1 friendly student at the front. This is so important, as it will set the atmosphere for future lessons.
4. Let your students do the talking
In both 1 and 2 above, notice that the tasks were set up to enable the students to do the talking. There is certainly a time for the teacher to tell, explain and correct but when that’s done, stop. Ensure you set your students tasks so they can practise in English.
Putting students in pairs or small groups to complete a communication task is a great use of class time since they can all be practising together. Meanwhile you can monitor and get a feel for their level, helping and noting corrections for later in the class.
Discover more great ideas for pair and group comunication activities here:
Before you know it, you’ll be into the lesson with the class successfully engaging in tasks you’ve set them. Goodbye nerves!
5. Teach them something meaningful
If it’s all fun and games in the first lesson, students may come to expect this all the time. Ensure you introduce a distinct learning segment. Perhaps have students explore the course book, or introduce some useful ‘survival’ English phrases they can practise and memorise for next time.
Smile and enjoy.
For more on creating meaningful TEFL lessons, consider a Christian TEFL course.
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