Conversation Cards - Let's talk - Doors of Inquiry


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The great privilege that we, English teachers, have is that English is not just a school subject, it is also an ideal environment for unique talks about life.

We are aware of the opportunity to positively influence the younger generation, so we enthusiastically welcome any possibility to have valuable conversations with young people and adults full of wise questions, a willingness to debate honestly, openness and a curiosity about the views of others.



"There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception." - Aldous Huxley



How to use “Doors of Inquiry”?


The “Doors of Inquiry” set consists of 48 cards, each focused on one concept or a different way of looking at things.

There is a photo of a door on one side and ten questions or tasks on the other. The photo has been chosen deliberately and is in some way, quite literally or more metaphorically, connected with the concept it is supposed to illustrate. The last question on each card always asks the students to discuss the choice of the door in the photo, its suitability and connection to the concept. They are also asked to suggest their own ideas for a door that would fit the concept even better.

The remaining nine questions or tasks include phrases and collocations in bold that are connected with the concept of a particular card. If the students don’t know these phrases, pre-teach them or ask the students to look them up. Answering the questions will require the students to use vocabulary from different lexical sets as the questions are linked by the concept rather than a lexical set. You may choose to omit some of the questions if necessary.


Sample questions:

The Door of Beginnings

1) Think back to the time when you were a beginner at learning English. How old were you and what do you remember about those first encounters with the language? How does it feel to be a beginner?

2) What kind of starter would you order in a restaurant? Would it matter if you had company? Why (not)? What kind of conversation starters do you recommend when meeting new people so that you get off to a good start? Why?

3) Have you ever had to start something from scratch? How did you feel when you had to start over? Why? Can going back to where you started ever be a good thing? Why (not)?

The Door of Positivity

1) A social media post went: “2019: avoid negative people. 2020-2021: avoid positive people. 2022 and on: avoid people.” Can you explain the joke? What has happened to human relations because of the pandemic? Do you think it is reversible or irreversible? Why (not)?

2) How can you change  a pipe-dream into a goal? What is the most unrealistic sounding dream you have right now? How can you get closer to realising it?

3) Think of a context in which the following expressions might appear in one dialogue: “If all goes well”, “Fingers crossed!”, “Heaven forbid!” and “Touch wood”. Write the dialogue.


The Door of Community

1) Should schools attempt to instil a sense of community in students? Why (not)? If yes, how? If not, what should they do instead?

2) Do traumatic events bring people together or create or deepen divisions? Can you provide examples?

3) When was the last time you experienced the feeling of togetherness when being with people close to you? What exactly did you feel? Can we do anything to tend to this feeling?


“Doors of Inquiry” contain the following cards:


The Door of Beginnings

The Door of Rationality

The Door of Physicality

The Door of Simplicity

The Door of Anticipation

The Door of Enthusiasm

The Door of Positivity

The Door of Sensitivity

The Door of Sadness

The Door of Experience

The Door of Comparison

The Door of Moderation

The Door of Determination

The Door of Morality

The Door of Rejection

The Door of Community

The Door of Individualism

The Door of Doubt

The Door of Humour

The Door of Travel

The Door of Dreams

The Door of Justice

The Door of Fame

The Door of Medicine

The Door of Sight

The Door of Hearing

The Door of Smell

The Door of Touch

The Door of Taste

The Door of Speech

The Door of Writing

The Door of Reading

The Door of Colour

The Door of Art

The Door of Games

The Door of Winter

The Door of Spring

The Door of Summer

The Door of Autumn

The Door of Fire

The Door of Air

The Door of Earth

The Door of Water

The Door of Animals

The Door of Plants

The Door of Humanity

The Door of Otherness

The Door of Endings



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