College Teaching Tip of the Week – Vol. 1 Issue 4

The First Class Session is the Most Important

Barbara Davis Gross, in the book Tools for Teaching, devotes a chapter to “The First Day of Class.”  She presents 36 pieces of advice for starting the new term.  Here are a few of them:

  1. If you have not taught at that location before, visit the classroom before the first session.
  2. Introduce yourself to your students.
  3. Use an icebreaker to help students get to know each other and create an atmosphere conducive to learning.
  4. Start learning and using students’ names.
  5. Review your syllabus.
  6. Clarify your expectations for important issues such as class participation and attendance.
  7. Explain what kind of effort your students must exert to be successful.
  8. Give students advice on how to study.
  9. Make the time worthwhile and use the entire class period.
  10. Give an assignment for the next class.

The tone you set the first day is important.  You only have one chance to make a first impression!


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