This Time Next Year: a New Year’s ESL Lesson plan

Hello everyone, and Happy New Year!

To celebrate the coming of 2017 I thought I’d post an idea for a twist on the New Year’s Resolution theme – great for a first class back after the Christmas break when everyone’s usually feeling a little sluggish.

This lesson makes use of a clip from the ITV show This Time Next Year. As soon as I heard about this programme, I thought “future perfect” – I’m afraid that’s the way my mind works after five years in ELT!

The basic idea of the show is that someone comes on and talks about the changes they are going to make over the next 12 months, then through clever camera work we can see the results instantly, as though we have been transported to the future.

A word of warning, the clip I have chosen is about weight loss, which is one of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions. However, if using it in your class, be aware that this could be a sensitive subject.

14/12/2016 – ITV This Time Next Year – Faye Chambers from SW PR videos on Vimeo.

Lesson plan

Begin by asking the students to think about the changes that happened in 2016. These could be personal, or indeed worldwide. Ask students how many of these changes they could have predicted.

Ask students if they ever make New Year’s Resolutions. Ask students what they think the most popular Resolutions might be. A list of the 50 most popular in the UK can be found here: Ask students to comment on how similar Resolutions in the UK are to those in their own countries.

Tell the students they are going to watch a clip from a British TV show. Check the meaning of the following words/expressions:


stone (for weight)

wedged in


(n.b. a “stone” is a UK Imperial measure of weight, equivalent to 14 pounds (lbs) or 6.4 kg.)

Watch the title and introduction, then pause the video when the contestant enters the studio. Tell the students that she has two goals or resolutions that she wants to accomplish in the coming year. Ask the students to speculate on what they could be.

Watch the interview (to about 2:33) and check if students were right. (Answers: 1. lose weight (10 stone) and 2. go on a plane for the first time.)

Ask students how easy these goals might be to attain. Do the students think she will be successful?

Dictate the following questions:

  1. How much weight did she lose?
  2. How did she do it?
  3. Did she go on her honeymoon? Did she enjoy it?

Watch the “big reveal” and the rest of the interview. When they have finished, ask students to compare their answers in pairs and discuss their reactions to the video. How did it make them feel? Do they think that Faye’s story is inspiring?

Board this excerpt from the first interview: (0:42 – 0:48)

This time next year, I will _____ ______ 10 stone and _______ on a plane for the first time in my life.

Ask students to complete the sentence, and play the clip again to check the answers if necessary.

Elicit from the students what tense this is (answer: future perfect). Elicit how this is formed:

S + will + have + past participle

Elicit/teach the usage of this tense (to express a future action that will be completed before another point in the future, e.g.this time next year, I will have passed my FCE exam – red event happens earlier in the future than the blue event.

At this point you might want to introduce a controlled practice stage. Some webpages with examples are: and

Tell the students that it is now their turn to think of some New Year’s Resolutions. Board the sentence starter: “By this time next year…” and tell students that they have to write three New Year’s Resolutions using the future perfect tense. Explain that one of them should be related to learning English. This works well if you use separate pieces of paper – I like to use post-it notes.

Collect in the post-it notes and put students into pairs or small groups. Stick the resolutions around the room if possible, or simply redistribute around the groups. Ask the students to evaluate the resolutions using the SMART system: are they Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed? Take feedback as a class – try to keep the resolutions anonymous, unless you are sure that your class are happy to share their goals.

Next, ask students to come up with some advice for helping people keep New Year’s Resolutions. This could be specific to the resolutions of the class, or more general in nature.

So there you have it! Let me know if you use this idea and if it was successful or not.

Wishing you all a happy, prosperous and successful 2017!



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