Discussion topics for general speaking practice

Paul Emmerson, freelance writer, UK

Tip: The two sites below (first slightly better than second) list dozens and dozens of General English discussion topics. The really great thing is that when you click on the topic you get a whole range of ready-made questions.

http://iteslj.org/questions/

http://www.esldiscussions.com/

Background

These two sites are a fabulous resource of GE discussion topics for those occasions when your students want to do lots of Social English, or general speaking practice, and you have exhausted the more obvious coursebook topics such as travel, family, hobbies and interests, food and drink, city life, current affairs etc. With a 1:1 student or small group I have the first site listed above open on the computer on a Friday afternoon, and I just let the student/s choose topics for a whole class discussion. I click on whichever ones they choose to get the ready-made questions, and I ask the questions.

With a larger group, and with pre-experience, there are homework options such as asking the students to:

  1. look at the site at home, choose one topic, and click to look at the questions for that topic
  2. decide how they personally would answer those questions (they can make notes to help them)
  3. print out the list of questions and bring it to the next class

Then in class they give their printout of questions to a partner, who asks them the questions (along with any others that they think of spontaneously during the discussion).



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