There are many ways to conduct the first lesson with a new group including a needs analysis and self-introductions. This is just one idea.
- Cut A4 paper into 4 and give each learner 4 cut pieces of paper.
- Ask them to write one word on each paper. It should be a thing/object that is important to them.
- Collect the slips of paper and redistribute them to others.
- Ask the learners to write a few questions about the object. For example, LABRADOR: Do you have a labrador? Is it male or female? How old… etc.
- Have the learners mingle and find the person who wrote the word. They should ask their questions (and follow-up questions).
- When everyone has found the person who wrote all the words they have, they can sit back down. Then report back by asking: What was the most interesting thing you learned about Maria/Marco etc.
This is a good activity to practice speaking and getting to know each other. Of course the trainer should also include 4 slips of paper!
Alternative: instead of just things, the learners can use dates or places or verbs or a mix!
1-1: This exercise can work for 1-1 lessons, but just have the learner write 4 words and you interview them about those words. Then have the learner interview you about your 4 words.
This can be used in the very first lesson or at any point in time, really.
- Choose a few photos that represent something about yourself. Mine are: a chicken, the Golden Arches, a group of school kids in Japan, a mountain in Arizona, a diving mask.
- Put the pictures on the board (or if you have a projector, project them all) so everyone can see them all at once. Alternatively, if they are smaller, give each pair a photo which they will pass around.
- Tell the learners: These photos represent a part of my life in the past or present. Brainstorm with your partner what you think the connection is.
- Give the learners enough time, usually 10 minutes to brainstorm what they think the connection is.
- As a whole class ask for ideas. What is the connection to the chicken? Groups might say: Do you love to eat chicken? Do you have a pet chicken? etc. If they guess it you could give them a point. If not, give little tips like: There is a connection to one of my past jobs, until they discover the story (I worked on a chicken farm for 2 years. It was my first job. I didn’t like it and on a side note, I am now a vegetarian.).
- Continue playing until all the stories have been discovered.
- Depending on the size of the class you can ask them to show a picture (just google image search) that represents something about themselves the others don’t know. If the group is large, have them do it in small groups or pairs. If the group is small, do it as a whole class. Alternative: as homework they should bring in 3 pictures (these do not have to be pictures of themselves! They can use “stock” photos to represent the concept).
For 1-1 training this can also be used. Just ask directly: What do you think the connection is? Follow up by bouncing it back to the learner. What about you? Have you ever worked with animals? Tell me about it.