How I welcomed my students into the new year

Like many other educators, I spent my Christmas holiday break being EXTREMELY lazy at times – on the Internet, on Netflix, at the Spa 🙂 but also EXTREMELY BUSY IN MY MIND – reflecting on the hectic months behind me and thinking about how to shape the ones that lie ahead. I read loads of articles, studies and even parts of many books and was inspired to find the right words and strategies to help my students become better learners.

Because of this desire, I opted to start my first English lesson of the year with a short lecture in which I’d remind my students of what we have covered and what they should already be competent in, as well as give them a taste of what my and their goals could and should be going forward. I summed up my thoughts in the attached presentation, which I displayed on the beamer in the classroom. You can download it via the links below.

Welcome Back (pdf)

Welcome Back (pptx)

Welcome Back (key)

I’m becoming more and more convinced that I need to impress upon them the need to develop self-sufficiency and key skills to take control of their own learning journey. This is not something that will happen overnight, so I need to be really patient with them as they hear about and learn to grasp these concepts for the first time.

This is why I included 3 images in the presentation, ones that I will be revisiting in the coming weeks.

The first is the Forgetting Curve by Ebbinghaus which highlights the scary fact that we forget most of what we hear unless we regularly review it. Judging by their reaction this was something they were surprised to hear about.


(source: wikipedia)

The second is an image of brain synapses which is one of the things that caused an „aha“ moment in my own personal life. Seeing how neurons connect and function reinforces the importance of repetition, but also on taking care that the brain can perform its functions properly, without negative influences such as alcohol, drugs or sleep deprivation.

The third image is one of my favorites, designed to motivate them to push themselves outside of their comfort zone and test their limits.


(image source: flickr)

Here’s to hoping that the seeds I’ve sown will bear fruit!

How did you start the year?