5 of the most interesting talking points…

ESL and EFL discussion on what questions lead to great conversations.

  • Level: A2-B1-B2-C1
  • Handout: on TPT for 0.99$$
  • Language focus: questions, preferences, past tense, present tense
  • Media: article

It is no secret that I am a talker. What’s more, I love conversation–I devoted a whole website to it, so that should tell me something right? I genuinely enjoy getting to know people. Their stories, their values, what they like and don’t like, their guilty pleasures. Every time I manage to get to a deeper level in a conversation lesson, I am always, touched, grateful and amazed at the variation on a human theme we have.

What I mean to say is that as humans we share quite a few common elements: we eat, we sleep, we have routines, we have dreams, we have hopes, we have worries, we have doubts, we have projects, we have disappointment and we have pride and we have shame. But it is the stories inside those elements that often testify to the infinite variations these elements have in our lives. They create the stories that are our lives. And by stories, I don’t just mean the play-by-play events all strung together, but the inner dialogue we have with ourselves as our lives play out like movies.

It’s not surprising that when I fell on this article 5 Questions the Most Interesting People Will Always Ask in a Conversation, I ate it up. Thus I am sharing it with you, my teacher community. Not only will it make you reflect on your own approach to prompting conversation, but It may also be a great tool to use with a class. Once for the reading comprehension, and then as a discussion launch pad.

I made a little true/false handout to go with it on Teacher Pay Teachers (0.99$)

Have we become too overprotective?

Have we become too overprotective of ourselves and our children?  For example, how old were you when you were first allowed to light a fire? My guess is you were a lot younger than what we would consider appropriate today. Perhaps being an information savvy generation may have also made us a risk weary generation.

I had the good fortune of having parents who believed in the value of getting dirty, getting bruised and cut and trying things that we probably wouldn’t allow our children to do today (like sitting on my grand-father’s lap while driving the car).

Today, we know more about sanitization, about common accidents, about abductions and attacks. We are quite risk aware–n’est-ce pas? But is this information empowering us or limiting us. Gever Tulley’s TED talk is entitled 5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Kids Do. He has some pretty thought provoking ideas about what should be taught to children at quite early ages.

I think his talk makes for a good launch pad for a discussion on risk tolerance, over protectiveness and parenting. It also creates a natural context for comparing past and present (so a little added grammar focus).

Pre discussion

Discuss these terms…are they good or bad?

  • Risk
  • Over protective
  • Safety
  • Germs
  • Danger
  • Accidents
  • Bruises and scrapes
  • Creative

The video: TED Gever Tulley 5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do

  • Do a Mind Map of the 5 things, put as many details as you can
  • Could you add to Tulley’s list?
  • Do you think you were overprotected, underprotected, or had the right combination of risk and safety?
  • Do you have memories from your childhood were you were allowed to take a surprising risk?
  • How did you feel? What did you learn?
  • Are there items in Tulley’s list that you would not do? Why?

I would love to be a fly on the wall during your discussion. Don’t hesitate to write to me…

What is your pet’s funniest habit?

Have other pet related discussion questions. Or an anecdote you would like to share? I love to hear from you.