It's disappointing to fail, however, in many respects perhaps it was for the best. Susan's suffering from exhaustion and the pressure may well have been too much if she'd won.
And I'm still very much looking forward to buying her CD!
Have your students ever failed at anything?
Have your students ever been horribly disappointed?
Do they know other people who've tried to do something, who put their whole hearts in but didn't reach their objective?
Life is not a bed of roses and we don't always achieve the goals we set for ourselves. In many respects, this might the reason the world loves Susan Boyle so much.
About 4 years ago I decided that I would finally get on with living my dream, since I was a kid, of being a movie-maker.
I told my bosses that I needed 3 months off work and went to live in a friend's cottage in Virginia, where I sat and typed 'til my fingers bled - from the crack of dawn to very, very late in the evenings.
Life on Purpose was the final product: a 120 page screenplay, action adventure - Matrix meets Von Trier - and was about a 40 year old man who was dissatisfied with life, wife and family. He ended up in a labyrinth World of the Gods and had to make his way out through a convoluted karmic untangling, ultimately discovering his destiny.
Despite interest, it didn't sell, sigh, so nowadays I teach dogme-style instead and write teaching materials and blogs, LOL!
Would you like to turn this theme of disappointment into a lesson with your students?
Ensure they've kept up2date on the Susan B saga - multiple links here. Send this link via email.
1. Write the word disappointment on the board. On 4 brainstorming branches, write
- ways we express disappointment and regret
- things that people fail at
- phrases of sympathy & empathy
- phrases of encouragement and motivation
2. Go into story-telling mode, sharing a personal story of your own failure at doing something important - don't supply too many details or wrap it up with the positive outcome. Stop short, perhaps 85% of the story and then let them ask you questions.
3. Accept your students' natural oh, I'm sorries, other empathy noises and their encouragements to fall down 7 times, get up 8.
Answer back naturally as if with a group of friends. You can occasionally glance at the board encouraging through your body language that they should be using some of the phrases and expressions there.
Don't overly correct their English at this stage.
4. Now ask your students what grammar structures you used to tell the story, list these on the board.
5. Then ask them to write the following lists:
- 3 personal, professional or academic disappointments
- 2 disappointments of someone in their friendship circle or families
- 2 disappointments of anyone famous (entertainer, movie star etc)
6. Divide your students into small intimate groups, 3 - 6 members each.
7. Encourage them to work in turns, choosing a disappointment they feel comfortable sharing with each other - they'll have ones that are private and others not connected directly to themselves so if you have students who'd, for personal or cultural reasons, prefer to talk in the 3rd person, they won't be left out.
In my own experience, however, students can easily fill a lesson just talking about themselves ;-).
8. Make sure they are using the phrases you brainstormed at the beginning of the lesson in natural context. Circulate, correcting language. Feedback.
To keep a copy of this lesson tip, simply click on the title (so that only this page is open) then go down to the green eco-safe badge and click to email or print it.
But before you dash off, now I've told you my terrible disappointment of not being an award winning screenwriter, want to share any of your own as-of-yet non achievements?
Useful links related to this posting:
The price of water in airports, anger in the EFL classroom
The role of pride in the classroom
p.s. hat tip to woodcutter for prompting me to get on with writing a follow-up posting dealing with Susan B's loss.