The First Day of Class- An Opportunity for Learning

Students arrive in the classroom and sit down. The syllabus is either passed out or projected on a screen and discussed, including required textbooks or materials. After about 45 minutes, the professor dismisses the class. In a studio art or design class, that means that roughly 2 hours worth of class time has just been wasted.

Sound familiar?

Any teacher who conducts their first day of class in this manner is missing out on a fantastic opportunity to get the students excited and invested in the course, and to get their brains engaged with all the possibilities that could unfold in the course of the quarter or semester.

While many professors do “icebreaker” or “getting-to-know” you exercises on the first day, why not do something that would immediately get their creative juices flowing? This document contains a number of ideas for first day of class activities.

This entry was posted in Actively Engaging Students in Classroom, First Day of Class, Teaching Practice and tagged , by Jane Alden Stevens. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jane Alden Stevens

Jane Alden Stevens is a photographer and educator who is Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts at the University of Cincinnati. An active artist, Stevens has exhibited and published her work extensively both in the US and abroad. She is the author of “Tears of Stone: World War I Remembered” (2004). In the course of her teaching career, Stevens taught courses in film, photography, and professional practices for fine artists. Her interest in teaching practices was deepened when she started teaching the "Graduate Teaching Workshop", a required graduate level course for fine artists and art historians that prepares them to teach the courses they will later be assigned. She was also involved in the Preparing Future Faculty program at the University of Cincinnati, which prepares masters and doctoral students across all programs for teaching at the university level. She has conducted pedagogy workshops for a variety of universities, as well as participated in academic practicum panels at educational conferences. The recipient of numerous teaching awards, Stevens was honored with the all-university Cohen Award for Excellence in University Teaching at the University of Cincinnati in 2002 and Professor of the Year honors in her college in 2011.

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