Output Education

Education Blog

The First Day of Class

The First Day of Class

23 June, 2016

The first day of class is very significant for it is the day wherein the teachers and students get to know each other and it is when the students have their first impression and the teacher will set all expectations.

The first day is more than just introducing the course syllabus:

In addition to making a strong first impression, the first day of class offers the opportunity to:

  1. Create a learning-centered community by getting to know more about each other.
  2. Dive into content and set the pace for the rest of the semester.
  3. Delineate expectations for the course.
  4. Motivate students to invest in the course by emphasizing learning over grades.

Planning for the first day of class

As you plan for the first day of class, take the following into account:

  1. How are you going to generate interest for your subject area?
  2. How are you going tobuild rapport with students?
  3. How will youestablish ground rules for the course in a helpful and approachable manner?
  4. How are you going to communicate expectations for the course?
  5. How will you learn about whatstudents in your class already know, or think they know about the course subject?
  6. When, before the first class, are you going to visit the room or hall to evaluate the space?

Effective class activities for the first day of class

  1. Learn each other’s names: use icebreakers, take a class photo, or make name placards.
  2. Have students to write their expectations of the course on index cards for your review.
  3. Communicate learning outcomes explaining what students should know or be able to do as a result of finishing the course.
  4. Explain how you will make an inclusive environment for students.
  5. Present content using a real-world scenario that will give students a context for the course.
  6. Stimulate interest in your course—what exciting questions will you answer?
  7. Give students a taste of what is expected of them. Will they be expected to actively engage in learning activities during lectures? Will they be required to participate in group work? If so, involve students in these types of activities on the first day.
  8. Discuss the syllabus near the end of the class period. Use the first valuable moments of class time to make a memorable impression on the students.

NOTE: Spend little time reviewing the syllabus on the first day. You will need to address it again in upcoming classes as students often switch courses in the first few weeks.