When we start a class with new students we may sometimes be a little anxious. No doubt that the first day in front of a classroom can be stressful and not only for us as teachers but also for our students. No matter their level, no matter if you have adult learners, teenagers or children, many of them will need some help to build on their confidence.

On the first few weeks, our students will be expecting a lot from us. They will be watching and testing your limit and theirs. That is the reason why the first lesson is essential to build a good rapport with our students. The first class should be aimed at promoting a positive learning environment where evaluating levels, desires and needs of our students should leave room to fun activities to know one one another.

Classbuilding activities can be entertaining and they are here to help us to build a good class rapport. Our students will be working together for a while so the sooner they get to know each other, the better the learning environment will be.

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Here are just some examples of these powerful tools that you can use with your students no matter their level.

  • Name chain games

You are sure that you will make an impression on your students and they will acknowledge that you are truly interested in them as individuals.

Sit your students in a circle or semi circle if possible. Ask the first student to say his or her name and something he or she likes. There are plenty of variations for this warm-up. Alternatively instead of saying what they like they can say their favorite word in the target language. Then the next student must repeat all of information of the preceding student and include his or her own information. The next one repeats the information about his or her preceding classmates and so on and so forth until the last student. It is quite challenging but it is a sure way to remember each other’s names and our students’ tastes. A nice trick to do is to go last as a teacher. You are sure that you will make an impression on your students and they will acknowledge that you are truly interested in them as individuals.

  •  Truths and a lie

Instead of introducing yourself right at the beginning of the lesson, an idea would be to give the opportunity to your students to discover a bit more about you through the ‘2 truths and a lie’ game. You simply have to give 3 statements about yourself, your family, hobbies and friends for example and your students guess which are facts and which one is a lie. It will develop your their curiosity and it is a good way to model this classbuilding activity so that I can be done in pairs. A follow-up activity to this can simply be a whole class feedback to engage everybody.

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