I’m really starting to love the idea that "Simple is Beautiful." A few weeks ago, without even looking for it, I came across a really great quote over at WorkHappy.net. This is what I found:
"Be mindful of the link between present action and desired future outcome. Ask yourself: if I repeat today’s actions 365 times, will I be where I want to be in a year?" Roz Savage.
I liked this quote a lot. There’s so much truth behind it, and I think that very few of us are really conscious of it - mindful - as much and as often as we need to be.
In a pre-intermediate group I’m working with, we’ve been looking at the simple future tenses, as well as the present progressive. That night I came across the quote, I thought to myself: Wow! What a great way to talk about something that matters to most of us (living a life that’s on purpose, and going the way we REALLY want it to) while working on some target language along the way - "will", "going to", "want to."
After teaching new words (mindful, link, desired, outcome) we read the quote together a few times. Then we worked on a really quick explanation of "will, going to, and want to"
We read the article multiple times, and each time the students understood the text a little more. And then we started talking about it. I encouraged them to take a moment to pause, and consider what they were wanting to be by the end of 2008. After they had thought about it, I asked them to share. (Of course, having to use the simple future tense we had just been learning about.)
It was incredible. Mistakes happened, but not many. Because they had time to think a little about what they wanted to say, the ideas flowed very well…and best of all, they were very real. Then the really fun part came…the present continuous. So you want to do "x"? What are you doing today to make that happen?
Again, I encouraged them to take a few seconds and think about it before speaking…but the moment was electric. As I looked around the small meeting room table, I saw that a few were starting to think about things in ways they had never done before. What AM I doing to make my dreams happen???? You could almost hear their thoughts as they worked away in silence.
The end results: We spent the whole class talking about THEIR future, and THEIR present action. It wasn’t hard. It wasn’t fake. There was no tooth pulling….the conversation flowed quite freely. The best of all, at least for me, was that it didn’t feel like a typical grammar lesson. No pain or suffering…at least in trying to figure out how to use the new structures. It just flowed because there was, I think, a strong connection to the content.