Business and self-development tools for setting goals

fridays 6_30pm - 10pm

Hello everyone! In December 2018 and on the first days of 2019 I was having goal-setting sessions with some of my students. Some of them were about to complete their courses, some just wanted to refresh their ideas on how to improve English next year.

Today I am going to be sharing some methods that I used to help my students set goals. These methods aren’t brand-new, they come from business world and they are quite popular.

The first one is ‘SWOT’ analysis. 

My students drew a table with 4 squares, S stands for STRENGTHS, W stands for WEAKNESSES, O is for OPPORTUNITIES, T is for THREATS.

The procedure is pretty simple. I assigned SWOT analysis as homework, so that my students could reflect and contemplate and spend as much time as they needed to analyse their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The following lesson, firstly, they discussed it in pairs, then we discussed it as a class and I elicited ideas on how to turn weaknesses and threats into strengths and opportunities. Moreover, there were some ideas on how to improve S and O.

I got positive feedback and my students who were far from business world said they would steal this idea to set goals in private life.

The second one is ‘SMART’.

Again, in SMART each letter stands for a definite word: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time bound. When setting goals a lot of students just say ‘I want to improve my English’. They sometimes don’t understand which improvements they want.

– Reading? Yes, please. I’ll read more next year.

As for SMART method, my students discussed it in pairs and brainstormed ideas, or in other words, what they consider ‘specific,’ ‘measurable’, etc. Is a goal to have B2 level of English specific? Is it measurable? Or, for instance, is reading achievable? Yes, but is it measurable? Yes, if you read 60 English books next year and reflect on your results….

This task was a bit complicated, but I believe my instructions weren’t clear enough. Anyway, I got positive feedback, too. And I’m happy it worked.

The third one is ‘WHEEL OF LIFE’. 

You can read about ‘Wheel of life’ here. I now call it ‘Wheel of English’.

I asked my students to reflect on how much reading, speaking, listening and reading they have in their everyday life. They assessed those aspects and created a graphic like the one here to see how balanced their English life is.

wheel of english

As far as I can see, the student isn’t satisfied with speaking and writing.

We discussed it as a class and I elicited ideas on how to stuff their lives with reading, writing, etc. As much as possible. We got some nice ideas and created a Google document where everybody could share their own idea and continue contributing new ideas. I got positive feedback. And overall impression on this method was great!

Upon using all three methods in the classroom, we discussed how to be more autonomous.

When you ask me, I’d say these methods helped me to understand my students’ needs and then contemplate on how I could meet their needs and requirements and make their lessons more effective and beneficial.

Thanks for stopping by.

My first #flashmobELT experience

      A thing I’ve tried today with Intermediates. In Ann Loseva’s blog I found a link to ELT flashmob. The idea is pretty simple: teachers from different places post their ideas for the lesson starters, warmers or games, or just some interesting things I tried in the classroom and you can see all of them. When you try something, you need to leave feedback about your experience, write a post with a hashtag #flashmobELT.

      My today #flashmobELT idea is ‘password’ for letting students in. The original idea comes from Ann Loseva.

It’s a very simple task which aims more at getting students into the mood for English right at the doorstep than at focusing on any particular skills. And it works for me with classes which are locked before I come with the key and we all come in.
Today in order to enter the classroom you should say a password.” Ideas for what the password of the day is depend on the topic you’re doing, grammar structure you want them to revise, your mood, some news, etc. Basically, on your imagination. Let them think on their feet. Let it be one word, a word combination, a sentence, a question”. Some examples from my class: “one object inside/ outside the house”, “what’s your opinion about being late?” (obviously I was late for class), “one word connected with this day” (that was April 12th).

    My Intermediate students have just learnt adjectives defining jobs and responsibilities, such as demanding, stressful, boring, depressing, rewarding, fun, etc. So the password of the day was one of these words and I gave them a definition and they were supposed to say a right word. It worked perfectly. Now I am full of ideas of how to introduce this task to every single lesson. As for lesson planning which I do regularly, I am about to include this idea in a lesson plan along with other useful and important things.

Thank you, Ann, for your idea! It is wonderful!