If you happen to be worried about what to do with your students during the first week of your teaching, try to prepare one or two lessons which are related to your students and call them ALL ABOUT ME. Don’t ask them to write anything on paper the first and the second sessions. Interact with them through simple questions about themselves and their world. Make your questions simple in the beginning, so that all students can answer and participate. Gradually, try to change those questions to average and challenging while keeping them always about them. Show your students that you are interested in them and their world. Ask them about their names and their spelling. This allow you to see where they stand with letters in English and their pronunciation. Also, while asking them about themselves, include family, food, animals, plants, means of transportation, environment, countries, capitals, flags, currency, languages, continents, seas, oceans, rivers clothes and friendship. Ask them to tell you anything interesting about themselves in connection to any topic. Ask them to share with the class one thing they did during the summer of 2017 that they feel proud of.
Moreover, make your classroom a welcoming place and let them feel at ease when coming to the board. Let them take control of the board when they are up. Don’t stand next to them. Just fade away by taking the student seat who is at the board. Sit among your students and let them feel that you are one them. Ask the student to write the word used in the questions and answers. Invite the rest of the class to help in spelling the words. Praise them with a variety of expressions and appreciate their answers no matter what it is. Show your joy when a student get it right. Refresh their memory about the basics in language just to make sure that they are up to date. Be curious about them and see what they like and dislike.
Additionally, use a poster picture (if available)and let them identify and name anything displayed on that picture. Or project a picture if you have a projector (data-show) available. Focus on one thing on that picture depending what it is and dig more about it depending on the level (Middle or high school level). High school teachers , you can use either a simple poster or complex poster or both. This will allow you to cover many angles of the language in a more complex way.
For instance, if the lesson is about the environment, have two pictures showing one with a clean environment where people respect and live in harmony with the environment and another picture where people are irresponsible and reckless. Give students an opportunity to express their feeling about the two scenes and then let them compare between the two pictures. Encourage them to use the language of contrast and comparison. Invite students to express the consequences. Then connect them with the reality by using their classroom as a real example. Encourage them to keep their classroom clean and let them understand that this is the responsibility of every student and every teacher.
When asking questions and receiving answers, take those keywords and dive yourself while dragging your students into a language inquiry about the synonym and the opposite of those words. If those words are verbs ask them whether they are regular or irregular verbs. Invite them to define a regular and an irregular verb. Give them the verbs in the past and ask them to give you their present and vice versa. Encourage them to share any word in English that represents the past or the present (adverb of time). Ask the student to mimic any action verb or mimic yourself an action verb and ask them to guess the verb and then spell it.
Pay attention to everything they say. Get closer to them and keep eye-contact when addressing them. Try to memorize their names as quickly as possible and use their names when addressing them. Let them trust you and feel that you truly care about them. Talk to them with respect to earn their respect. Ask them about the kind of sports (rules, number of players and name of the best player) they like, countries they want to visit and their favorite flags (colors and shapes), languages they want to learn and master, food they prefer to eat and subject they want to study. While asking them, try to detect their strengths and weaknesses in their language speaking and listening skills in terms of pronunciation, structure, vocabulary and intonation.
Use the first few sessions as an ORAL DIAGNOSTIC ASSESSMENT where you will learn about your students including building that trust between you and your students while assessing their speaking and listening skills, which will help you prepare your WRITTEN DIAGNOSTIC ASSESSMENT for the coming week.
Mr. Yazid Rabahi was born and bred in Hadjout, a small town in the province of Tipaza about 70km West to Algiers the capital of Algeria. Mr. Rabahi has been passionate about teaching and learning since the first day he became a teacher in the late eighties. After more than three decades, Mr. Rabahi is still energetic about teaching at many levels.
As a teacher, Mr. Rabahi worked with a variety of learners from very young to adults. Currently, he is working as an instructional technologist teaching graphic design and supporting teachers in using and managing technology in the classroom. He holds a Master’s Degree in instructional technology from Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, Arizona.
His experience in writing about teaching, and learning didn’t start yesterday. Mr. Rabahi wrote several students textbooks in the early nineties, such as English for All and English for Reading, as well as two reference books in the mid nineties, like My First English Dictionary and My Phrasal Verbs Book.
As of now, Mr. Rabahi focuses his private research in practical techniques of teaching and learning enriched with technology as an instructional tool.