Every student wants to have a positive classroom experience. One way to help that happen is to do all you can to prepare for class each and every day. Preparation is essential for our teachers, but you as students can always improve your enjoyment and learning in class if you do a few simple things before the lesson starts. Here are some ideas that you might like to try:
Start the day with a good breakfast
Good rest and a good breakfast will help you stay alert and attentive. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare a good breakfast – Gary reckons there’s nothing to beat porridge! And if you’re not rushing you’ll also have time to think about and tune into the day ahead. If you’re not a morning person you’ll have to work on this one!
Review your notes before class
If you walk to school or travel in by bus or LUAS, why not tune into the classes by reviewing your notes or vocab cards from the previous class? A quick review can help refresh your memory. Try to picture using new vocabulary to describe recent events and actions in your life, and prepare a few questions about exactly how some words can or cannot be used.
Tune into English
Try to come to class thinking that doing well in class today is really important for your success at Atlas. And to do that you have to be tuned in from the beginning. Some ways to tune in to English well before the teacher arrives are look at street and shop signs as you travel in, eavesdrop on conversations on the bus or LUAS and try to listen out for a new expression that you might be able to use. And, of course, pick up a copy of the Morning Herald, Dublin’s free morning newspaper, and read the headlines until you find an interesting article.
Start an early bird club
Get together with two or three other students who would also like to arrive in class 10 minutes early to ‘warm up’. In this informal early bird communication group the idea is to start speaking English before the teacher arrives – and, of course, make new friends quickly with new students. You could have a short list of things that you agree to talk about each day:
1) a new word or expression that you learned yesterday together with a description of where and when you could use it.
2) A news article you’ve seen in the Morning Herald newspaper.
3) A description of something interesting you did or saw yesterday. The others in the group who are listening should try to stop you getting to the end of the story by constantly interrupting with questions – what colour was it? what time was that? did you think it was odd? would you do that again?
Of course, always do your homework, but before class review your homework and also prepare to make comments or ask questions about your work. You could keep a note of anything that was tricky and how much time you spent doing the homework. You could pass this on to students sitting next to you and also tell them if you felt doing the homework was time well spent.
So, the message is arrive early, tune in and prepare yourself to stay attentive! Changing learning habits and routines can be difficult – but work on some of these ideas and you’ll hopefully get more language learning enjoyment and success out of the classes. For sure, you’ll feel healthier with that tasty bowl of porridge in your tummy!
Over to you …
Just a little activity for those of you who like to take every language learning opportunity. How many of the underlined words and phrases can you understand and use?
Leave a comment with some sentences to show how they’re used. And, if you’re in the mood, try to give us a laugh with a joke or funny story.