Every August, in anticipation of the return to work, I begin to think about how I’ll approach the coming school year. With course outlines complete (hopefully), I can now think about how to introduce myself to a new group of students. I never find this an easy task. Often the icebreaker activities I find feel as though they would be too forced for me. Plus, I have also found in years past that students might have already completed a certain introductory activity with another faculty member prior to coming to my class. Damn.
Ultimately, what I want students to take away from day one is some sense of who I am and what the course will be like. What I want to take away from day one is who my students are, generally speaking, and hopefully a couple of students’ names. I always feel better once I can call on a couple of students by name.
As I was doing research this year in to possible ideas, I came across some good and basic advice from Dr. Bernie Krynowsky’s “A Practical Guide to Effective Teaching and Learning” for the faculty teaching at Vancouver Island University. His suggestions are straight forward and easy to follow. For example, establishing credibility. In my experience, students love to hear about faculty and what they’ve accomplished, where they’ve worked, etc. You might just be more interesting than you realize!
To read more of Krynowsky’s guide, follow this link: http://www2.viu.ca/ciel/teachlearn/guide/files/PracticalGuide.pdf
On a more general note, UNC Charlotte has some great suggestions for lecturing to fit different learning styles. One or more of the strategies they suggest could also be used on day one. Check it out: http://teaching.uncc.edu/learning-resources/articles-books/best-practice/large-classes/effective-instruction