A first English lesson with new students?

female college student

The first English lesson is always a surprise

For your first English lesson with a new student you never know what you are going to get. It’s pointless preparing a lesson really, since you won’t see the student’s actual level until you meet them. The student might have told you that they have been studying English for seven years, but that doesn’t mean much. Some people know virtually nothing after seven years of English lessons!

Your new students’ actual level of English

Since you never know where your students are really at, I recommend giving students a language test in the first lesson. You’ll have concrete evidence of what they know. You can find free tests online. Here are three links, but you’ll find more if you search yourself. Copy and paste the links to go through to the page:

When a new student joins a class

If new students join your existing group, the golden rule is not to hold up the students already attending. Likewise, if a student misses a lesson, don’t go back over old ground and hold back those there before. Instead, when the new student joins, please give them a language test to complete alone while teaching your regulars something new. Then, in the second part of the lesson, you could ask the students to learn about each other with interviews. Work in pairs, find out as much as you can, and then present the other student to the class. It might happen that one of the students will interview and introduce you, which could be a nice thing to do in the first English lesson. Also, this type of multi-level activity allows more advanced students to use more language, while those with less ability can stick to questions at their level.


Do write your comments and ideas in the blog below. Don’t worry, your email is kept private. It is not displayed and is only there so that I can reply to you.

Further reading

Check this blog for ideas on the first day of term.

4 thoughts on “A first English lesson with new students?”

  1. Hello, Shelley! Nice to hear your new ideas! They give me so much inspiration for my own. Very good idea to start the first lesson – it’s always so hard to organise students. Your idea’s very helpful. Thank you so much for sharing it with other teachers.

    1. Shelley Vernon

      Dear Jane, Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you found the ideas useful. I’m here to help anytime. All the best, Shelley

  2. Just testet: The result is sent to my email which is fine, but it tells me about a level that I can not relate to. And it isn’t possible to see the right and wrong answers…
    Best regards Lone

    1. Shelley Vernon

      Thanks Lone, you are right, I’m removing the link. In addition, there are 40 questions and my internet is so slow I can’t even get through the questions before the time is up!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Like this article?