With some relief, I have finally come to end of another term of teaching English as a foreign language at Bologna University.

How to end courses on a positive note is always an issue for me. I dislike scheduling an end of course test for the final lesson, preferring to get this out of the way beforehand.

In this way, I can set aside the last class to include a kind of ‘where can you go from here’ pep talk.

My model for this kind of address is David Foster Wallace’s amazing ‘this is water’ talk at South Kenyon college. Brilliant as this speech was, there’s also something reassuring about the fact that the students who heard his talk were not immediately in awe of Wallace’s brilliance.

I am happy if my more humble speech avoids sounding too pompous or obvious.

On the whole, I probably need to include more…

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