Courses English conversation cues

Courses English conversation cues

Courses english conversation cues

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Article #1

  • Buy 50 Conversation Classes from Amazon
  • Buy 50 Conversation Classes – American English version
  • Get the  PDF eBook (includes British and American English versions)
  • View some sample pages.
  •  the Kindle edition containing all the 500 ESL conversation questions featured in the print version of the book
  • a web and Android app – featuring randomised conversation starters from fifty categories

A great way to get the students talking is to put them in small groups with a pile of these printable conversation questions on the table. Use them as warm up questions at the start of a class or as a fluency activity after presenting and practising some target language. Students take it in turns to turn over a card and read out the discussion question. When they have exhausted  the topic, the next student turns over a card and so on. At the end of this exercise, you can ask students what they have learnt about each other and run through any interesting grammar and vocabulary points that you overheard during the activity.

Printable ESL conversation cards

  • future with ‘will’
  • past simple – childhood
  • past simple – recent events
  • present simple
  • present continuous
  • present perfect – have you ever?
  • present perfect – life history
  • second conditional
  • age
  • annoyances
  • animals
  • art
  • birthdays
  • books
  • business
  • cars
  • Christmas
  • clothes
  • controversial opinions
  • current affairs
  • eating out
  • the environment
  • fame
  • food
  • the future
  • getting to know each other
  • getting to know each other (teens)
  • Halloween
  • health
  • holidays
  • home
  • humour
  • internet
  • jobs
  • law
  • love and marriage
  • money
  • movies
  • music
  • politics
  • school
  • shopping
  • sleep
  • sport
  • technology
  • television
  • time
  • towns and cities
  • travel
  • the unexplained
  • weather
  • work


Article #2

What discussion activities work in class? Tekhnologic, winner of the British Council’s Teaching English blog award for a post on setting discussion goals, shares a few ideas.

A discussion can bring out your students’ interests and motivate them; it’s a chance for them to talk about the things they really care about. Giving and justifying opinions in English can also bring students a sense of accomplishment, as they are using the language to express complex ideas.

Perhaps most importantly, discussion activities can be great fun for students.

Preparing for discussion classes

The first thing you need to be aware of is the language ability of your students and how much they know about the topic under discussion. This is important if you want to encourage real, free-flowing conversation. Get it wrong and students can get bored or, worse, feel intimidated and lose confidence.

When setting discussion questions, make sure the language and topic aren't too demanding. Don't try to begin a discussion about global economic theory with elementary-level students.

You need to grade the language of the questions to suit the level of your students, and check they understand any complex vocabulary or grammar in advance.

Find out what topics interest your students and get them to research the topic before the lesson.

Be careful with topics that may lead to embarrassment or offense. It's probably a good idea to steer clear of politics, religion and sex.

Some learners prefer a more structured discussion, in which case you may need to work out a plan for who will be talking, for how long, etc. By structuring the discussion and rotating roles, all students get to speak. This can help prevent some students dominating the discussion and others getting left out.

Where to find discussion topics

Alternatively, you can encourage the students to think of their own topics. You could even get them to work in groups to create questions for other groups to discuss.

Activities that help students organise their ideas

Activities that help students with their language

Comparing pictures is a great activity and it can generate a lot of discussion and emergent language (i.e., the language that the students produce as they are talking). The activity is simple. Take two connected images and put them side by side. One example I have used before is the city versus the countryside.

Picture activities are ideal for practising the language of comparison but can throw up other language and themes which can be surprising. A conversation comparing the city and the countryside can easily branch off into a discussion about the environment or quality of life.

This kind of activity is very useful for talking about possibilities (could), giving advice (should) or talking about personal obligations (have to, must) – language that is very useful when it comes to discussing current affairs and serious issues.

Activities that help students with fluency

Fluency activities are ideal for building confidence and encouraging students to speak more in class.

Read Teknologic’s blog and visit our award-winning website for more great tips and activities for the English language classroom.


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IELTS Cue card A place you visited which was full of colour


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