How to Live Before You Die, by Steve Jobs

Introduction

This lesson is intended to last 60 minutes and would suit an upper-intermediate or advanced class. It can, however, be tailored for lower levels, and you can use material from the student page for extra activities to stretch the class to 90 minutes.

Steve Jobs is a famous and interesting figure who inspires students, and so this lesson has a wide appeal and is a great opportunity to get students talking enthusiastically. If you have any comments or suggestions, please leave them in the comment section below.

Lesson Plan

 

We recommend starting and ending classes with a discussion. Depending on class size and student personalities, you may want to have an open, class-wide discussion, or have the students talk with partners or in small groups. In very small classes you can ask the questions directly to the students.

Have students discuss the following questions. [15 mins]

Discuss

  1. What do you know about Steve Jobs’s background?
  2. What changes have you seen in our world that were triggered by Steve Jobs and Apple?
  3. How do you feel about Steve Jobs death? Do you think his death has an impact in the world as much as his life did?
  4. As a college student, Steve Jobs had many doubts on how he wanted to lead his life. Do/Did you have the same problem?
  5. One of Steve Jobs motto was: ‘Think differently‘. How do you think this can make a person to succeed in life? What challenges are there in thinking differently?
  6. Despite some hard times, Steve Jobs was a very successful man. What makes a person successful? How good are you at overcoming obstacles?
  7. Steve Jobs once quoted a phrase: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” How do you think he faced death? How would you react if you found out you were going to die soon?
  8. It is not easy to motivate others. How do you think Steve Jobs could inspire the workers of his company?

 

Before beginning the listening section, pre-teach the following key words of vocabulary. Emphasize the students shouldn’t worry about understanding every word in a passage. This listening passage will last 15:04 so it is unrealistic to expect them to follow every single word. However, the following are important in understanding the main ideas, and also are useful IELTS vocabulary. [5 mins]

 

Vocabulary

Commencement                                             Drop out

Adoption                                                          Calligraphy

Biological                                                        Diagnosis

Intuition                                                           Generation

 

Watch

Watch the lecture and make notes. You will then have to answer a series of comprehension questions from your notes. [25 mins] *answers are at the bottom of this page

Impress upon the students that the lecture will contain stories on the three following themes:

  1. Connecting the dots
  2. Love and loss
  3. Death

 

Comprehension

  1. What happened when Steve Jobs was born?
  2. Why did he drop out of university?
  3. What does he mean when he says “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards”?
  4. What happened when Steve Jobs turned 30?
  5. How did this become the best thing that happened to him?
  6. What does he mean by “don’t settle”?

 

Now that the students have understood the material, have them engage in a final discussion. Encourage them to use vocabulary and ideas that they learned during the lesson. Push them for fuller answers. [15 mins]

Final Discussion

  1. What do the words “Stay hungry; stay foolish” mean to you? How might that motto change your perspective?
  2. Do you find it hard to follow your intuition when others disagree? Why or why not?
  3. What would you do if you had no barriers in front of you? What would your heart tell you to do next?
  4. What does it mean to be a visionary? What makes Steve Jobs different than a fortune teller?
  5. Jobs contends that you need to LOVE what you do in order to be great at it. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
  6. Is death really life’s greatest invention?
  7. How would life be different for you if there was no death?

 

Answers

Comprehension

  1. He was put up for adoption, but the family who had originally agreed to adopt him decided that they wanted a girl, so he was offered to another family instead. His biological mother wanted him to be raised by college graduates, but eventually agreed to relent if the adoptive parents promised he would go to college.
  2. After six months he realized he was wasting his parents’ money because university wasn’t helping him figure out what he wanted to do in life.
  3. We can’t predict the future but life makes sense when we look at history.
  4. He was fired from the company that he started.
  5. He was able to do other things in life that he cared about, like fall in love. He became more creative.
  6. “Don’t settle” means to always strive for the best and never agree to something that isn’t your best.

 

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Author: David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the ‘Weird Cult’ and the founder/editor of Beatdom literary journal. He lives and works in rural China, and loves to travel.

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  1. How to Live Before You Die, by Steve Jobs | TED IELTS - […] can view the lesson plan here, which contains additional activities and features a recommended structuring to suit […]
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