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Professional Development
“You want something, go get it.”

“You want something, go get it.”

February 25, 2016

It’s cycle 4. Many of our returning students won’t be as enthusiastic as they were at the beginning of this academic semester, especially those repeating level 4 for I don’t know how many times. It’s time to remind them of the bigger picture and that giving up won’t help them pass faster or better!



I find it very useful to spend a class with my students every few weeks to talk about success and what it takes to achieve it. Such a class helps them become more productive and it eventually saves us a lot of time…. Until they need to be recharged again. In these short talks, I try to highlight four main points:


1. The only way to success is through failure!

12079480_431268317072304_4582573960592472735_nThere isn’t a unique recipe for success that suits everyone or every goal. Only by trail and error (i.e., failure) do we understand what it takes to get what we want, and actually get there.

It could be useful if you ask students to name a few successful people they know, and ask them to search for how these people achieved their success. Before they achieved their success, what did they have to go through?

Resources that you might find helpful:


2. What is your success?

It’s not surprising, I guess, that many of our students haven’t set goals for themselves.12657926_461836614015474_6277660265293819852_o They’re young and just getting started. But, it’s never too early to think of what success could possibly look like for each one of them. It doesn’t have to be set in stone; it shouldn’t. But, thinking of a draft of what their vision of success is will help guide them, and it’ll be a source of encouragement when things don’t seem to be going right.

It won’t be easy for them to define success or set future goals; I had a student once who set a goal of drinking 8 cups of water in five years! Success could be too big of an idea for them to take lightly. It might be more approachable to ask them that in different ways, like What do they need to do to be happy? If you only had 6 months to live, what would you want to do? (more can be found in resource #3)… They can brainstorm in groups and think of different life areas: health, education, job, family, self, etc. And, make sure they not only set these goals, but also know why they want them. When they’re done, have them write down three (?) personal goals and save it somewhere, like their email. (Read more: Writing down your goals can help you achieve them)

Resources that you might find helpful:


3. How?

6e7d17833d15a21825a491511e2e32ddDefining what success is or setting future goals is not enough to be successful. A plan needs to be prepared… general guidelines, to make these goals realistically reachable. These guidelines don’t have to be big. Small steps are more achievable and make us feel better about ourselves.

For example, for our students, passing IELTS could be one very important step on that plan. Once they see that, the burden of IELTS becomes more manageable because IELTS will be seen as part of a bigger picture, a happier one.

Resources that you might find helpful:


4. Get started, but don’t forget…

32e23c26ea80d81add9f612c2d9bff7eNow that a (kinda) clear vision is set and a draft plan is ready, it becomes easier to set priorities, somehow. It also becomes more important to remember that nothing is set in stone, and that changing or modifying their goals and/or plans is expected, and actually encouraged as their learn more and become more confident of themselves.

And, one very important tip to not forget: it’s not going to be easy; it’s not going to work all the time.You need to learn how to overcome obstacles and learn from them. And, when things seem to be falling apart, remind yourself of the bigger picture, of your future goal and how important it is to you.

Resources that you might find helpful:


You might not find these ways helpful or useful for your students, but it is important to find ways to encourage our students as they need all the motivation they can get. :)

February 25, 2016
Professional Development, Teaching & Learning
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Sebah Al-Ali

An ESL lecturer whose experience in programming and web development has made her passionate about integrating technology in her classes. She’s mainly interested in how technology can be efficiently utilized to facilitate active learning, develop interactive curriculum, and train teachers.

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