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Level: Intermediate up
Most Important Things in Life
Get students to list off their spontaneous answers. They must justify and explain as they talk.
Using the ideas below as well as your own, get the students to list off the ten most important things in life, putting them in order of importance.
- To feel useful
Brainstorming activity; get the students to define "life". Below are some student answers which shouldn't be shown to students until they have contributed something.
- Is an adventure.
- Can be wonderful.
- Is a big theatre.
- Life is like an onion: when you remove all the layers, there is nothing
- Life is a path leading to nowhere.
- Life is a dream.
- Life is a journey to nowhere.
- Life is a series of unexpected and expected experiences.
- Life is a cartoon.
- Life is what you make of it.
- Life is a journey whose destination is unknown.
- Life is a treasure and the proof of that is that few people want to die.
- Life is hard but beautiful, too.
- Life is a very high mountain.
- Life is a series of trials which are created by yourself, a superior being, destiny, chance ...
- Life is a maze: you know what you want in the near future (to get out of the maze) but don't know the way, or maybe the best way-and you have to make a choice.
- Life is a film in which you are the main character.
- Life is ... all of these.
You could even devote a whole class to discussing student comments.
Life is said to have four stages, according to a Peter Laslett:
- Working and family.
- Freedom from work and family.
- Decrepitude and death.
Discuss these with your students.
Get your students to draw up their own list of life's ages; for example, they may choose to start off with "baby" stage and end up with "octogenarian". Beside each step they choose, they could give an explanation of their opinion. They could give details of the aspects that differentiate, say, children from adolescents. Most students agreed that childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age were the top four stages; but are there more? Infancy? Young adults? Middle-age? Incidentally, the word "infant" comes from the combination of the prefix "in" (= not) and the present participle of the Latin verb "For" (To talk). The literal translation of "infans" is "not talking", which is one way of looking at a toddler: A being who cannot talk.
Which age is the best? Why? Does life "begin" at 40? I asked the
latter question and then got my students to finish off the following
Life, for me, begins/began at:
- Thirty, because I have a job; a flat; I feel settled; I have money to travel.
- Twenty five/six, because I have finished my studies and started to work.
- Thirty, because I ended a boring relationship-and started to live!
- Twenty two, because I got my first job.
- Fifteen, because I moved home to a better place.
Discuss about old age. How are the elderly called in your country?
Senior citizens? Old folk? How are they treated by the government? Do
they get free travel? Is this right? Do the elderly just pass time,
or can they be useful to society? How?
Finish this sentence: When I am old, I am going to/would like to:
What did you want to be as a child?>/p> In theory, a simple brainstorming activity. But it could lead on to many other topics. My students produced the following: F = Female M = Male
- An Economist (F)
- An Actress(F)
- Somebody with authority (M)
- Hostess, Hairdresser (F)
- A Bird (F)
- A Fireman; I loved taking risks (M)
- A Doctor (F)
- A millionaire (F)
Necessities in Life
Sound out your pupils on what they feel is a necessity for them in life at the moment/in general
Get each L2 to choose what he believes are the three most relevant necessities from the following list.
- A certain amount of good food is necessary in order to live.
- Water is necessary to live.
- Friends are necessary.
- Romance is necessary.
- Sex (?).
- Cars are necessary.
- Alcoholic drinks.
- Holidays are necessary.
- Taxes are.
Debate and see whether there is a male-female differences.
You could also do the following: Ask them to eliminate the "necessities" that they could, if pushed, do without. The "things that are not necessary in life at all?
Pleasures in Life
Put these in order of preference.
- Watching TV
- Eating out
- Listening to music
- Drinking alcohol
- Doing sports
Debate the above list. Are there any pleasures missing? Which ones?
The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. V, No. 1, January 1999