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The Importance of Warm-up Activities 

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Often, when students enter a new room, there is an intense feeling of the unknown, as starting a course is always scary for different reasons. You don’t know who your mates are, you don’t know the space and the room where the lecture will take place and finally, you don’t know who your teacher is and what kind of pedagogical approach will be used. 

This feeling of insecurity is something strong, especially on the first day, as you are not familiar with the new situation. For children, it is something common. Who doesn’t want to come back home on the first day of school? Adults can also feel the same when starting a new course. The big difference between children and adults is that usually adults don’t ask for their mother, hopefully. 

Many trainers often make the mistake of not considering this feeling and starting their lectures without even letting the participants present themselves. For that reason, adult education is popular nowadays with the idea of warm-ups. A warm-up is not only a physical activity to wake up the body; it can be much more than that. In a classical sense, a warm-up was something related to the field of sports where an athlete, before performing, stretches the muscles in order to avoid possible injuries and make the body ready and at its best capability . 

In a meeting or in education, a warm-up is fundamental in different ways, as a way to make the body and the mind ready and aware. Something that is often undervalued is the social-emotional effect of a warm-up. A good warm-up can be like a catalyst for a group. It can accelerate the process of transformation in a group. Imagine when some stranger enters a room for a lecture. There are many feelings involved. Even adults can feel nervous, judged, or insecure in general. As trainers, it is fundamental to set goals daily, not only for the content to be delivered but also for the group. For example, on the first day, I usually look for a simple and achievable goal; at least everybody knows the name of each person in the room. 

For that, I often use a game called the Picasso Portrait Game. It is a very simple activity, as it is a collective portrait where each person contributes to drawing a part of the face of the person. The main idea is that every time you have a name on the paper, you need to ask around who that person is. At the end, the picture will be posted around the room. Then, all the time, people can have a look around and can remember the names of people easily. Nevertheless, it is a good approach to give identity to a space, make it more familiar and then let people take away all the barriers that are not helping with the learning approach. 



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