Conclusions and Pedagogical Implications
At the end of this study, we as researchers could assert that using warm up activities is an effective way of helping students to begin the English class daily. In regards to this, we completely agree with Allwright (1984) who concluded, based on her own experience, that "with warm ups students paid closer attention, asked better questions and seemed a bit more excited than before" (p. 162). This author also claims that "the proper presentation of warm ups will cause people to stop whatever they are doing or thinking and refocus their attention" (p. 164), an aspect that could be confirmed through the findings of this study.
Through the analysis of the findings gotten from the students' journals and teachers' field notes, we have come to the conclusion that the role of warm ups is one of being an attention injector for students. That facilitates their involvement in the class work by sharing answers, trying to participate, paying attention, giving the answers, encouraging to take part in the lesson, participating as volunteers, working on the exercises, drawing, and writing the exercises.
Based on the results collected mainly from the field notes, these kinds of activities really appear to promote students' involvement in the English class. They must be used as a motivation and a means of preparing the ground for the various stages of the lesson. As could be noticed in the lesson plan (Appendix 1), they are neither long tasks nor an explanation of the topic. In the same way, they must not be considered as isolated stages in the process or be centered on only one skill. That means we can prepare the warm up with the objective of involving students' participation and letting them communicate at an early stage of the lesson.
Some important aspects to be considered for the warm up development are the classroom conditions and the clarity of the activity rules, particularly if they are games or competitions to avoid confusion among students. That means we have to explain the procedure carefully before starting, to have all the materials ready, to encourage students to participate and to motivate them by means of examples or guides.
It is also important to remark that no matter how simple warm up activities can be, they should be well prepared. In addition, we need to examine the connection for the later activities so that we, as teachers, can take advantage of them to develop our lessons. For example, to prepare the warm up related to the use of a Bingo in the topic Daily activities and their frequency, the teacher only had to think about the sentences the students must include in the bingo and the right order to develop the activity. Consequently, it did not demand a lot of time to prepare or complicated materials to be implemented.
We can promote students' involvement at the very beginning of the class by applying warm ups. And for warm ups to be effective they should be short, related to the topic, useful to continue later activities, interesting, and enjoyable. In doing so, we can prepare students to concentrate and to help them begin to think and focus their attention on the English class.
Allwright, R. (1984). The importance of interaction in classroom language learning. Applied Linguistics, 5(2), 156-171.
Cárdenas, M. L.(2001). Responding to children's learning styles.How, 8, 17-22.
Dornyei, Z. (2001). Motivational strategies in the English classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Howatt, J. W. (1994). Our criteria for grading students' programs. ACM, SIGCSE Bulletin, 26(3), 3-7
Kay, C. (1995). Scott Foresman English series. Baltimore, Maryland: Scott Foresman.
Nunan, D. (1989). Understanding language classrooms. New York: Prentice Hall.
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