The Secret of Success
Intermediate to Upper-Intermediate, Prep Speaking level
To provide Ss with an opportunity for freer speaking practice on the topic of success--how to define it, within what situation(s) does the definition apply, and how can an individual improve and 'become successful' in something
To provide Ss with an opportunity to practice their detailed listening skills, listening for specific information on the subject of 'success'
Procedure (117-129 minutes)
Show a series of pictures, of commonly-defined successful people, to the WC. This should include both celebrities and successful business people. Elicit from the WC: --"Why are these people considered successful? What are the achievements of these people?" --"How did these people become successful?" --"Would you call these people lucky, or do you think that they have a special talent?" Write on the WB SUCCESS IS....? Divide the WC into groups and instruct them to define what 'success' is in their own terms. Following GW discussion, bring the WC together for FB. Write some of the group's answers on the WB.
Inform the Ss that you have a series of quotes, from famous and 'successful' people, on what 'success' means to them. Instruct the groups to read their quote and determine the following: 1) "What does the quote mean? What is the famous person's thoughts on 'success'?" 2) "Do you agree or disagree with the meaning of the quote?" Distribute the "Quotes on Success" HO (one quote should be given per group). IF TIME: Following GW discussion, lead the Ss in a WC FB session. Elicit both the quote and the Ss' answers to the 2 activity questions.
Write on the WB: "One person's success is another person's failure?" Try to elicit from the WC what they think this saying means. Inform the WC that you are going to provide them with some situations where a person experienced both failure and success. Instruct the groups to decide which of the situations--and the failures-turned-'achievements' in those situations--are true examples of 'success.' Distribute the HO on 'Successful Situations.' Following GW discussion, bring the WC together for FB. Inform the WC that they are going to analyze 4 specific people (Mr. Dosh, the businessman; Miss Adversity, the single mother; Ronald-O, the professional football player; and Professor Woodpecker, the Oxbridge University academic). "Each person described in this HO considers themself 'successful.' Based on the individual's description, why does each person consider themself 'successful'? What is their 'success' and their 'achievements'? Do you agree that this person is 'successful'?" Distribute the HO on "Successful People." Following GW discussion, bring the WC together for FB. With the WC, revisit the question presented at the beginning of the lesson. "Now that we have read about and discussed some specific real-life situations, and individuals, that we would define and consider as 'successful,' how would we change our previous definition(s) of 'success'? What characteristics/qualities/traits should we add, or remove?"
Write on the WB YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS. Applying what is discussed in the previous HO activities, elicit from the WC any 'successes' and 'achievements' that they have experienced in their lives. Write the Ss' answers on the WB. Elicit from the WC who, if anyone, feels pressure to be successful in life. Inform the WC that they are going to listen to two speakers with very different views/opinions on the meaning of success. "The first audio file we will listen to, a Ted Talk, focuses on a traditional view/understanding of success. The title of this Ted Talk is '8 Secrets of Success'. While listening, I want you to take notes on the 8 secrets of success that the speaker (Richard St. John) mentions." Distribute the listening HO ('8 Secrets of Success' Questions) and play the audio file. Following playing the audio file (DO NOT SHOW THE TED TALK), bring the WC together for FB. Following FB, instruct the Ss to discuss, in pairs, what they think about St. John's success secrets. "First, which of these secrets, if any, do you think are most important for a person to be successful? And second, do you agree with St. John, that we need these 8 things to be 'successful' in life?" Inform the WC that they are now going to listen to a short film which defines 'success' very differently from St. John's Ted Talk. Instruct the Ss, while listening, to take notes on what the narrator thinks about success and how he defines it. "Write down what the narrator says about the NATURE OF SUCCESS [write on the WB], how he defines it [the DEFINITION], and what EXAMPLES he provides." Following playing the audio file, provide the Ss time to share their notes with their partner. Following discussion, bring the WC together for FB. T's Answers Definition: Doing anything well; excelling at something Nature of Success: It requires compromise; you can't be 'successful' at everything Examples of Success: --Running 100 meters --Selling an app for a lot of money --Listening to a child --Being extremely kind to strangers --Filling your mind with interesting things --Knowing when to put your arm around someone Instruct the Ss to discuss, with their partner, their thoughts and responses to the second audio file's definition of 'success.' "Do you agree or disagree with the narrator and his 'success' examples? Comparing the first audio file with the second, which definition of 'success' matches your own definition (what 'success' means for you)?" Following PW discussion, bring the WC together for FB and final thoughts.
Write on the WB YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS. Applying what is discussed in the previous HO activities, elicit from the WC any 'successes' and 'achievements' that they have experienced in their lives. Write the Ss' answers on the WB. Elicit from the WC who, if anyone, feels pressure to be successful in life. Inform the Ss that they are going to watch a Ted Talk on success and how the traditional definition of 'success' is causing severe problems for society. Provide the Ss with a list of 'while listening' questions and instruct the Ss to listen to Alain de Botton's lecture and try to answer the associated questions. 'A Kinder, Gentler Philosophy of Success,' Alain de Botton (14:40) https://www.ted.com/talks/alain_de_botton_a_kinder_gentler_philosophy_of_success Following a viewing of the lecture, provide the Ss time to share their notes with their group members and try to answer the 'while listening' questions. Following group discussion, elicit from the WC their answers to the 'while listening' questions. Elicit from the WC their thoughts and response to de Botton's concluding suggestion. "Should we redefine what 'success' is and be open to a diverse understanding of what a 'successful life' might be?"