“Everything becomes a little different as soon as it is spoken out loud.”
Hermann Hesse (1877-1962), Nobel Prize winner for Literature
Holidays and anniversaries often prompt personal reflections. As 2010 ends and a new year beckons, millions of English language learners and thousands of English teachers reflect on their lives and make new year resolutions.
· What did you find satisfying in 2010?
· What were some magic days and memorable moments?
· What English words will you choose to remember?
· What English lessons would you prefer to forget?
Sometimes we look back with satisfaction on our classroom achievements, and sometimes we look back in regret. A USA Today article proclaimed “2010: The Year Technology Replaced Talking. Yet here we are facing 2011.. Almost everyone hopes for a happy, healthy, and more prosperous and productive new year. The challenge remains how we can move forward, and talking about change and hopes for change seems like a natural place.
Often, we openly declare our hopes and goals for the New Year with bold resolutions that require serious change in our habits. We also know that change can be hard, surprising, and sometimes liberating in our classrooms and in our personal lives.
· What do you hope for in 2011?
· What changes would you like to make? Why?
· How do you plan to realize your goals in the next year?
· How will you measure personal success in 2011?
· How will you measure your academic success in 2011?
· Are you ready to keep your New Year resolutions?
Given the rate of exceptional technological and social change in the 21st century, I find that discussing the topic of Change a perennial winner in my advanced English classes. I often open the Spring semester with this popular conversation activity in the first two weeks. Although public opinion surveys show that only a small percentage of Americans keep their New Year resolutions to change after a month, I suspect we can increase those odds of our English students by candidly discussing our hopes and plans to change.
Feel free to use this sample Compelling Conversations chapter on Change in your English class.
“To modernize is to adopt and to adapt, but it is also to recreate.”
Octavio Paz, 1914-1998), Mexican writer and diplomat.