I have the pleasure each semester to observe faculty from across all disciplines teach. I look forward to these observations because it allows me to learn and grow as a teacher myself, seeing what is working well in our classrooms . Some of the most successful teachers I have observed utlize the first five minutes of class to set the tone for they day and to excite their students about learning. They accomplish this by:
1. Greeting students by name as students enter class. A friendly, individualized good morning or good afternoon goes a long way to establish a positive rapport.
2. Thanking students for coming to class. Many students have made a great sacrifice to be at GCC, so the recognition of them making the effort to be here can also help establish the positive learning environment.
3. Beginning class with a writing prompt to activate prior knowledge and set the stage for the learning ahead. While taking attendance, one instructor has students reflect on a question or prompt that either reviews material from a previous class or the reading that was assigned. Another instructor asks students to complete a practice problem while settling in. In both instances, learning takes place as soon as students arrive.
4. Reviewing the objectives for the day. Some instructors write the day’s learning objectives on the board; others verbalize to students what will be accomplished. Either way, instrutors set the stage for students by indicating the goals for the lesson and what students will hopefully learn.
The first five minutes of class are valuable minutes to establish the positive classroom environment and to set the stage for the learning for the day.