At the start of your course, students will be curious (or perhaps anxious) about what will happen in the class. As you paint the picture of your course’s structure, requirements, and assignments, you’ll also want to ensure that they can see that your class is an engaging and supportive place for learning.

If you’d like to help your students become comfortable with you and their fellow students, you may appreciate the suggestions offered in today’s video, which features Dr. Robert Yagelski, author of Cengage Learning’s Writing: Ten Core Concepts and other texts. Here, Dr. Yagelski shares his thoughts on setting expectations and the right tone for the first day of an English composition class. He shares some of the activities, assignments, and ideas he often uses on the first day, and also discusses what you can learn about your students during that initial meeting.

Even if you don’t teach English composition, you may gain some inspiration from his suggestions, which also have application to the teaching and learning process that takes place in courses across many disciplines and areas of study.

How do you set the stage for learning in your classroom? How might you apply Dr. Yagelski’s ideas in your course? Share your thoughts in the comments.