Design a short questionnaire/inventory which you could use with students at the beginning of a course to raise their awareness of their assumptions about learning a language and/or their reactions to past learning experiences.
I don't know who to give credit for this idea because I'm sure I took it from one of my teachers, but to be honest, I don't know who. But the point is that I use this activity with my students at the beginning of the course to know more or less where they are standing and to get to know them. The name of the activity is "coat of arms" and as the name says it, it's a drawing of a coat of arms divided into 5 sections. There I write different things but just to give you an example: 1. Me (so they have to tell me or write something about them), 2. My family (idem but with the family), 3. Favourite Place, 4. Hobby, 5. English Experience.
This activity is like the springboard because after or during the activity, I ask different questions and also check how they want to learn and what they expect for the rest of the year.
I also work with photocopies from books that have kind of questionnaires or inventories where students have to tick what they like, the way they learn or the way they would like to learn.
It is very important to show students they have different ways in which they can learn and if we teach them that, they will have more possibilities to learn on their own (at home with homework or when they need to study for English or other subjects).
And what about you? Do you have activities to share with me?
Hedge, Tricia (2001); A Framework for Teaching and Learning; chapter 3(Discussion projects and topics # 4- p. 103); O.U.P.