Conversation Cards - Let's talk - Discussions to Grow


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“Discussions to Grow” is a collection of 24 pairs of cards. Each pair deals with a different topic that begins with a different letter of the alphabet. All the letters are covered except for X and Z.

The idea is that the cards will help students grow not only as far as their language skills are concerned, but also emotionally and mentally, due to a variety of questions that should stimulate them, challenge their beliefs and make them think about various issues from different viewpoints.

Card A in each pair has got a picture of a tree with five branches that are named according to what aspect of the topic the questions visible on the leaves refer to. Each branch has got two leaves attached to it with a question each. When using the cards, your students may discuss all the ten questions from all five branches or you may choose the ones that suit the age and/or the level of your students or the context in which you teach.

Card B contains three elements. First, there are three quotes attached to three “inspirational birdies”. The quotes are meant to be thought-provoking and you may use them as a starting point for the discussion. Ask the students to interpret them, agree or disagree with the opinions presented there, and give their own opinions.

The second element of Card B is a watering can with a list of expressions for participating in a discussion (giving opinions, asking for them, agreeing and disagreeing) that the students may use while interpreting the quotes and answering the questions on the leaves.

The third and final element of Card B are two bags of “discussion fertiliser”, which are two lists of five words/collocations each that the students may find useful when conducting their discussions. The first bag/list, which is called “grade: medium”, contains vocabulary that students at the B1 level should be able to incorporate into their answers. The second bag/list, called “grade: strong” contains more advanced vocabulary useful for students at the B2 level and above.

If the students do not know the words in the “discussion fertiliser” bags, pre-teach them or ask the students to look them up themselves.

You may use the “discussion fertiliser” in three ways. The first method is to treat the vocabulary there as prompts which can help the students with their answers. Another method will be to require the students to use all the words while discussing each topic. Finally, at higher levels, you may use them as taboo words that the students are to avoid.

You may also elicit other words connected with the topic and the questions that the students can prepare for themselves or for other students.

You may also ask the students to generate other questions that could be attached to the existing branches of the discussion trees, or suggest other branches with other viewpoints and the questions to go with them. The next step will obviously be to answer those questions in pairs or groups.

All the questions featured on the cards can be starting points for writing assignments, where the students present their opinions in blog posts, essays, articles, or other free forms.

Some of the questions can also introduce the students to ideas that they might want to research further and present their findings in class in a form agreed upon with the teacher.

A - Ambition

B - Body

C - Creativity

D - Discrimination

E - Emotions

F - Family

G - Guilt

H - Hobby

I - Independence

 J - Joy

 K - Knowledge

 L - Laughter

 M - Memory

 N - Nature

 O - Obligations

 P - Power

 Q - Questions

 R - Relationships

 S - Stories

 T - Time

 U - Universe

 V - Violence

 W – Words



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