30Goals: Get Rid of the Unnecessary Weight

Another 30 goals post on Getting Rid of the Unnecessary Weight.

Hana posts a few questions to answer and reflect on how to get rid of literal or metaphorical clutter in our professional lives or teaching. I was thinking of this in terms of my recent post on the Pareto Principle which states that you can get 80% of your output from 20% of your inputs. In other words, we should be able to dump 80% of our content and still get pretty good results from our students.

Of course, it’s debateable if the principle applies to education where results are complex and multiple. But I thought it would be interesting to take a lesson and strip it down as much as possible.

Looking at one of my more popular lessons which I wrote years ago: At the Restaurant, it seems so full of clutter. It’s presenting a sample dialogue, some key vocab and some follow-up questions. Yet it’s very long and I’m not sure what some parts are aiming at. Here’s an example of cutting a lot of weight, and rewriting to make it clearer:

<iframe src=”https://docs.google.com/document/d/17UTEqVJwvSLln_3sD2J-GlJd_wuTWxk-YcDTDmdKpeI/pub?embedded=true”></iframe>

I’m not sure I killed 80% of it, but it’s a lot more concise now. I think my students will like it a lot better!

Liked this post? Check out some of my books on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.