What is success?

What is success?

All levels from intermediate to advanced.

  1. Write “What is success?” on the board.
  2. Tell the learners to work in pairs or small groups and brainstorm the words they think of when they think of success. Ask them to focus on what makes a person a success.
  3. Now ask the learners to feed their ideas back to the rest of the group so you can write them up on the board around the words “What is success?”
  4. In the same pairs or small groups, ask the learners to discuss what criteria they would use to decide how successful someone is. The whole group then has to reach a consensus on five things that a successful person should be or have. Write these five things up on the board:Mark Zuckerberg

    A beautiful reality TV star, soap star or model who´s famous in their country or worldwide

    An Oscar-winning Hollywood film star

    A Nobel-prize winning physicist

    Barak Obama

    One of the richest men or women in the world, e.g. Carlos Slim

  5. Show the learners photos of the six people below. Ask them to identify the people from their photos (or to speculate about who they are if there are people they don´t know) and tell you what they know about them.
  6. Then, as a group, ask them to use their criteria to agree on a success rating for each person from 1 to 10 (10 is the highest, 1 the lowest), reaching a consensus or at least a compromise.  Have the learners give reasons and explanations for choosing the rating that they wanted to give each person.
  7. Now ask the learners to discuss in pairs or small groups which of these six people they think is the most successful and why. Suggest some questions that they could use to guide their decision, e.g. Who has the most money? Who´s the most famous? Who has the most power? Who´s the most respected? Who has won the most valuable prize or award? Learners then share and compare their choices with the rest of the group.
  8. Finally, ask the learners to suggest other people, either living or dead, famous or unknown, who they think are or were a success, giving reasons for their choices.

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