Is failure always bad?

Is failure always a bad thing? I think we all know the answer to that. However, whether consciously or unconsciously, the fear of failure might be telling us a lot about who we are and how we can turn that fear into a constructive element in our lives. If you are in the mood for an introspective discussion, watch author Elizabeth Gilbert (“Eat, Pray, Love”) talk about what failure has done for her.

Do a tell back of the main points in Gilbert’s presentation.

Are there elements in Gilbert’s presentation that relate to your life?

Do you have successes and failures that have marked your life?

How have your successes and failures defined your path? In other words, where might you be today if things were different?

Do you have an activity that you love more than anything that transcends the need to succeed or the fear of failure?

If you had only one vacation destination, where would it be?

If you had only one vacation destination, where would it be?

What is it about this place that keeps you interested?

If you were the tour guide, what places, restaurants, shows, historical sites would you recommend?

Who would you take with you?

How is the food there?

How are the people?

How do you ask for a raise?

Life changes. And more specifically, it gets more expensive. Yet sometimes it can take time for your employer to catch up. So how can you tackle the prickly question of asking for a raise? Barbara Corcoran gives some rather poignant insights on how to orchestrate this discussion. I think it makes for a great ESL discussion launch pad. Not to mention a more generalized reflection on gender differences in the work place.

Pre discussion 

  • Have you ever asked for a raise?
  • How did you approach it?
  • Do you have any good or bad practices to share?

The Video: Barbara Corcoran Explains How to Ask for a Raise

  • What are the steps you need to take to set up the meeting?
  • What are some of the differences between men and women when asking for raises?
  • If you are timid (and Corcoran says “woman,” but I think this applies to anyone who is timid) what should you do to overcome this?
  • What are Corcoran’s recommendations on how to use an outside offer to initiate a positive discussion about compensation?
  • What are her parting ideas about loyalty?

Have a great class!

Mel

What do your hobbies do for you?

Take a look at the Huffington Posts article on Healthy Hobbies. Scan for words that describe the benefits of hobbies.

What hobbies do you have?

What are the benefits?

Out of the 11 hobbies listed in the article, which would you like to try?

What is it about that activities that sparks your interest?

How are you feeling?

Can you describe what emotions you are experiencing right now? This is the question Tiffany Watt Smith asks her TED audience to sensitize them audience on how easy or how hard it is to put words on our emotions. This is a fantastic presentation to conjure the vocabulary of emotions.

I would break this presentation down into a series of snippets and begin by doing Tell Backs of each segment.  In fact, if you have more basic students, I would stop at the 6 min mark and center a discussion on the vocabulary of emotions. However, for more advanced learners, I would go through the presentation as it digs much deeper into the topic of the history of emotions and may be very engaging for higher level discussions.

Discussion Questions 

Can you identify positive/negative emotions?  (here is a vocabulary list)

What movies or stories make you feel happy/sad?

What movies or stories make you feel scared?

What angers you?

How are emotions viewed in your culture? Do you talk about them, or not?

What, according to you, is emotional intelligence?

What are you doing to prevent climate change?

What are you doing to prevent climate change?

PBS Frontline presents an innovative interactive presentation on how the people of Marshall Island are affected by climate change. Even though the presentation is a bit deep and disturbing, I would use it to spark a discussion on actions related to climate change. I would first do a  Tell Back  of the video centered around how climate change is affecting the daily lives of the people of Marshall Island (note: you must click the forward buttons to make the presentation go forward. You can stop at any point to discuss).

Here is a link to the PBS lesson plan. It includes some of the key vocabulary which can save you a bit of time in analyzing the content from the perspective of second language difficulties.

Discussion Questions

Do you notice any differences in the weather that could be related to the weather?

What are some of the current actions happening in your community that is intended to help stop climate change?

What habits have you changed?

If you review just this last year, is there anything you do differently?