It’s already way past Christmas for those who celebrate it in December, and even past New Year’s Eve. Here we are in 2015. It is thus fair to assume teachers have already held their final classes of the year. At the same time, the beauty and benefit of the idea I want to share, in my view, lies exactly in its only relative connection to the festive season. For reflection process does not need to have a Santa hat on the head of the person reflecting, even though New Year does appear to be a suitable point in time.
This year I did a different type of a closing activity for the final classes I teach and it actually came over to my lesson ideas from my personal journaling experience. In the end of December I decided to do a certain exercise that I’d found on the Psychologies mag webpage (here’s the link, but I feel the need to warn you that the page is in Russian). The idea of this exercise is to help you shape your reflections of the year by asking yourself 30 questions. These questions were picked by the author of the article from the book “My 5 years. 365 questions, 1825 answers.” As private and intimate as this task might look, it suddenly offered itself as a thing to be done in my class. Indeed, why not experiment with students? Why does this season need to be dominated by reindeer and carols in ELT? With that in mind, in the spirit of reflection and with an open possibility to lead up to formulating clearer resolutions for the year ahead, here’s what my end-of-the-year class lesson materials looked like this year.
30 questions to ask yourself on New Year’s Eve (translated from Russian by myself)
1. The best moment of the year.
2. What inspired me the most this year?
3. The major news of this year.
4. Anthem of the year 2014.
5. The most important people in my life.
6. What was most difficult for me to do this year?
7. What colour was this year?
8. Which event of the year would I choose to remember forever?
9. Which word did I use most often?
10. My most ridiculous purchase of the year.
11. I shouldn’t have experimented with …
12. This year was wonderful because …
13. Which inner problem did I solve successfully?
14. Who did I hug at night?
15. Whose wedding did I have fun at?
16. What was my average salary this year?
17. Did I have a conversation that turned everything upside down in my head?
18. What new project did I start in 2014?
19. If I could become a superhero for just one day, what would I do?
20. What am dreaming about now?
21. What do I consider to be my most important achievement?
22. This year until this moment in one sentence.
23. The latest message I’ve sent.
24. A quote that is most suitable for my year.
25. Did I achieve everything I’d planned for this year?
26. How many new friends did I make this year?
27. Who did I help this year?
28. Where did I travel?
29. Which projects am I putting off till next year?
30. What do I want to achieve next year?
Naturally, depending on the class you teach you could choose to edit the questions or take some out, assign it as a writing task or a discussion, pick a few questions for thorough focused work or let them run through all of the points quickly with just one line in response. There are grammar points if you need them, as well as there’s vocabulary for all sorts of topics. More importantly for me personally, there’s life and authenticity. There are students’ experiences and a chance for them to forget we are having a lesson. And that is one of the things I aim to achieve in 2015 in my teaching. =)