Flippng the classroom with Steve Jobs’ Commencement address 2005

Text of Steve Jobs’ Commencement address 2005.

This would be an excellent lesson for the start of a new academic year. Particularly for those of us working in universities. My quick suggestions are:

In class:

1. Ask if anyone knows what a “Commencement Speech” is. Does it come at the beginning or the end of a university career etc.?

2. Direct stds to Wikipedia for the answer (or see if the answer comes out of the discussion)

3. Discuss what happens when students graduate. What do they expect to be told in a speech like this?

4. Direct them to Inspirational Commencement Speeches. and ask them to look at the slideshow: halfway down the page: looking for motivational advice (Click on the arrows to see the slideshow. If you click on the text you can see the whole speech but that would be too much overload for this exercise) Show stds how to look at the slideshow and then ask them to look at it at home.

5. Show them the Steve Jobs page (see link at the top of this post).

If you feel that your learners need more guidance for this work (watching the video, reading or both) go to this link to see more materials I’ve put on my wiki:


6. If you think the text may be too difficult for lower levels show them how to use the Oxford 3000 Text checker to help them find the red words that might cause them problems. (simply copy and paste the text into the white box. The red words are the ones that are not in the Oxford 3000 most frequent words. In this text 95% are in the 3000, which confirms my impression that this would be both a useful and interesting text to read, as well, of course, as being extremely topical.)

At Home

1. Ask them to find the idea that motivates them the most from the slideshow.

2. Ask them to look at the Steve Jobs Commencement Speech. (They can read it or simply watch video, or both. With lower level students show them how to use the Oxford 3000 text checker .

3. Ask them to make a note of:

a) two ideas they find interesting

b) three expressions/chunks/collocations that they want to remember

In class

1. Begin with group work to pool their findings;

2. Build a discussion of the most motivational ideas;

3. Finally ask each student to focus on one idea that they want to carry with them throughout this academic year.


Write up ideas on a discussion forum and discuss further.


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