Session 5C

James Heath (co-authored with Kimberley Masters) - UNSW Institute of Languages

Motivation from the start: Planning the first lesson with a new class

Every English language teacher regularly experiences the first day with a new class. For many teachers, no matter how long they’ve been teaching, this brings a mixture of nervousness, anticipation and even dread. The first lesson is an opportunity to build rapport and instil confidence in the teacher, develop class and individual student motivation, diagnose student needs and expectations, orient students to the course materials and establish a supportive classroom community.

Teachers have many different approaches to the first class, from getting straight into teaching one of their favourite lessons, to doing “getting to know you” ice-breaker activities and discussing course objectives. This workshop will background some approaches to the first lesson within their theoretical frameworks, then demonstrate activities that work with different types of students at different levels. Participants will have the opportunity to explore new approaches that they can apply directly in their teaching, including ideas for expanding the first lesson online.

Bio data:

James Heath has taught general and academic English from Mexico and Peru to Byron Bay and Sydney, including university direct entry programs at UNSW and Newcastle University. His background is in media and communications, video production and online marketing. James publishes lesson plans and teaching ideas at his website