Quick Start Essentials
Whether you are an experienced professor or stepping into the classroom for the first time, how you utilize the early days of class is important. First impressions help set the tone for the rest of the semester, raising or lowering student expectations, motivation, and potential success.
Research by McKeachie (1986) suggests that the first meeting "is exciting and anxiety producing" for teacher and student.1 However, there is a desire in both for connectivity (Knefelkamp).2 According to Wlodkowski (2008), feeling connected to and included in the group is a great motivator to learn.3 For a discussion on the importance of connectivity please visit WWU Professor Dr. Joseph Trimble's Creating Classroom Connections online video module.
How do you begin on the right track? How do you set a positive tone for successful learning throughout the semester? How do you create an environment that helps students feel included, and motivated to learn? The strategies and ideas found in the pages outlined below will help to provide a starting point.
1. McKeachie, W. J. (1986). Teaching Tips: A Guidebook for the Beginning College Teacher. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath & Company.
2. Knefelkamp quoted from: Wright, D. L. (1999). The Most Important Day: Starting Well, as republished from University of Nebraska online via Honolulu Community College.
3. Wlodkowski, R. J. (2008). Enhancing Adult Motivation to Learn: A Comprehensive Guide for Teaching All Adults. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.