This year I decided to start 'brainwashing' them into making the most of the last lessons and taking advantage of any help and guidance I could give them before the all important exams. I looked for inspirational and motivational quotes for them, then browsed through Flickr to find illustrations for them and decided to start each class with one of these quotes. Apart from motivating the slackers, I also use them to introduce some more vocabulary, and also to start discussion in English about their relevance to the students reality.
So far they have worked quite well, and students are actually already expecting the new quote at the beginning of each lesson. The following one has produced the most discussion so far:
It was rather endearing how keen and open my students were to reveal all their secret strategies of avoidance (most of which I could guess anyway!). I don't know if these quotes will actually change their studying habit in any way, but at least the discussions we've had have been worthwhile. In their hearts, they know all of this, of course, and I know I should be looking in the mirror to find out why they have become so tired and passive, but for their last few school weeks, at least we are having constructive discussions about learning and teaching, and all in English.
For the quotes and illustrations, I have been inspired by others, who have kindly uploaded their work online:
the Great quotes about Learning and Change - a pool by several great educators
Education & Technology Quotes - 19 slides by Tony Vincent on Slideshare
Quotes - beautifully visualized by Silvia Tolisano
(and I'm sure there are many others, but these came to mind straight away)