This one minute of preparation prior to starting the first class activity changed my perspective on teaching after that. The note seemed to remove all anxiety from the students. Women were talking to men. Those who were accustomed to shaking hands used restraint with those who were from different cultures. More importantly, the students were able to focus on producing meaningful language during their interactions. The note had built up expectational knowledge thereby reducing anxiety in the minds of my students allowing them to succeed during the activity.
Anxiety is an inhibitor to success. I am not claiming that handing out notes in the students' first language is the only solution, but it certainly yielded favorable results for me. If we have the opportunity to reduce feelings of anxiety prior to an event, we should try to do so as it can only give the student a better chance to succeed. One way to do this is to provide the student with this kind of expectational knowledge.
Effective preparation involves the build up of expectation in the trainee's mind about what will happen during the event.