An idea for finding out more about your students’ history as language learners.
When you get a new group of students, the first class (actually the first few) is really aimed at getting to know them and analysing their needs as language learners.
Of course, a needs analysis is quite a serious matter as you will be basing on it your choices on material, class dynamics, topics, methodology and even the arrangement of the furniture in the classroom. Nevertheless, I like to think that the first day is also by far the best opportunity to set the tone for the learning experience you will be sharing together and allowing your students to take charge and have a saying on how its going to develop. They’ll appreciate your interest in getting to know them as individual learners within a group, their past and their expectations.
Students are usually quite nervous and stressed on the first day and that’s why some good humour is the best ice breaker you would ever find. Trust me, they are not expecting this one 😉
OUTLINE OF THE PLAN:
1) Ss watch part of a video. (Stop it at 22 seconds).
Discuss what is going on: Who is the woman? Who is the man? Where are they?
2) Watch some more and stop at 1.21.
Discuss: What is the teacher doing? Is it working?
3) Watch the rest of it. ( give some time for the laughter to invade the room 🙂 )
Discuss: What happened in the end? How did each of them feel?
4) Ss work in pairs and answer the following questions:
Have you ever been in a similar situation as a learner? How did / would you feel?
How important is motivation when learning a language?
What do you find most challenging about learning English?
Discuss the answers as an open class.
After this, I would provide each Ss with a questionnaire to find out some more about them. Have them interview each other in pairs so they can practice their speaking skills 🙂
The type of questionnaire would depend on the age and level of the students but I would suggest to add some questions that can provide you with information on their preferences regarding topics, materials, sources, tasks, etc.
The more you know about their history as language learners the higher the chances of succeeding in helping them to keep on progressing. 🙂