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Different types of classroom lesson opening

The objective of the opening is to capture attention and interest, as quickly as possible. This will rarely be achieved by a straightforward announcement of the subject, or title, of your lesson. A more certain way of achieving the objective of the opening is by using one of the following techniques.

QUESTION: asking a question immediately focuses the mind of your audience – if they know the answer, it will spring unbidden to their minds; if they do not know the answer, they will instinctively try to answer the question. Differentiate between an indirect question, where you require no answer and a direct question where you must wait for the answer.

QUOTATION: this could be a definition or merely a particular well-turned and appropriate “saying”. Unless the quotation is very well known, always refer to your source. Remember a quotation must not be dragged in just for it’s own sake – it must always be strictly relevant to the subject. Beware the danger of an overlong quotation

STORY: must be kept short and relevant to the subject. Personalise the story if possible (the ability to laugh at yourself wins an audience). Above all, the story must be well told.

FACTUAL: facts are always fascinating, particularly those which reflect the self-interest of the audience. Most subjects offer many facts, which will interest and inform your audience. Choose carefully, ensure accuracy and avoid confusing the audience by keeping the factual statement simple

HISTORICAL: where appropriate, a brief glimpse of the past will often grip an audience. Keep it short and strictly relevant – not a long historical survey.

LINK BACK: In the last lesson we looked at forklift longitudinal stability. "Has anyone any questions about that"? (Ask some questions to ensure class have understood) then, "In this lesson we are going to look at forklifts falling over sideways or lateral stability".......etc.

As openings are supposed to be short it's probably best to memorise this part of the talk/lesson. it is MOST IMPORTANT at this stage that you include an incentive for your trainees. An example might be what can happen to a forklift operator if the truck tips over prior to launching into a lesson on forklift stability.

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