Friday, September 2, 2011

Introductions and Warm Up Activities

We broached the subject of introducing activities and warm-up exercises in my teaching development class today. This class is linked to the experience graduate students have in teaching through the university's Intensive English Program, so it that sense it is a very practical hands-on sort of course.

We watched a series of videos where ESL teachers used different strategies in introducing their class lessons. One teacher began by stating what they had been covering previously and how the grammar lesson for the day's class fit in with overall big picture. Another teacher began his class with no introduction, but rather dived into a game that got students got involved immediately.

When we watched a video of one of the teacher's being interviewed about these different intro activities, she explained why varying these warm up activities was important. Sometimes, say in a grammar course, students need to be informed how the class objective relates to previous grammar lessons and activities, whereas in a conversation class, a teacher might want to trigger the class's instant engagement into the topic to be covered in order to get them in the right frame of mind and trigger their schema.

Despite these points, it was brought up that for lower levels, such as in the level 1 reading lab I'm currently teaching, a certain sense of continuity for each class introduction may be required. Variance at this level in introduction activities may simply cause confusion or panic, especially when students are still adapting to the American classroom culture and styles of teaching.

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