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4 Tips Can Help You During First Days of Class

I agree with Professor Robert Talbert about the importance of the first day of class. He writes that students (in college) "form their conceptions of the class...in the first few moments of the course."

This is true for all other levels, as well. Since the very beginning, students need to know what to expect form the course or subject. They need to make a contract/compromise that workload needs to be taken seriously.

These are the recommendations Robert gives in his blog Casting Out Nines:

    1. I prefer a quick, energetic launch directly into the course material. I spend maybe the first 7-10 minutes on course structure. Then we start right into the course content through a lecture/activity combination.

    2. To help with the first point, I will often create screencasts for some of the course management stuff (like this screencast for how to navigate Moodle) and email students the links to these, often before the first class meets.

    3. I do not go in for icebreakers, get-to-know-you activities, exercises intended to discover students Myers-Briggs types or learning styles, or any of that. Not that I think such things are not useful. But I’d rather the students get to work and get to know themselves and each other in the context of working, rather than get to know each other instead of working.

    4. I give a full-bodied assignment on the first day of class to do for the second day of class — something that would really take about two hours outside of class to do, if the class meeting took one hour. Here’s the assignment list, for example, for my calculus class. That’s about 2 hours worth of work, although if you look closely, a lot of it is watching instructional screencasts and playing around with course software, so it’s less work than it looks like. But still, students have to do stuff.

Of course Professor Talbert is a math teacher and are to expect such discipline. In lower level though, we will have to adjust the system described in the prior list. However, these are suggestion all teachers should embrace.

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