English conversation: The subjects

 

I have a full A-Z list below of all the subjects, but for those students who only want to discuss particular areas, I have broken the topics down into these sections:

Activities: being boring, driving, exciting stuff, good cook bad cook, laziness, music, pets, procrastination, Polish TV, public holidays, reading, shopping, sport, summer/annual holidays 

Attitudes and Perceptions: apathy, being boring, conspiracy theories, cynicism, dares, dilemmas, ecomentalism, exciting stuff, good or evil, grumpiness, happiness, humour, laziness, motivation, nimbyism, perceptions, public relations, procrastination, snobbery, spontaneity, town mouse or country mouse, vanity, wimpy kid, young at heart

Business/Work: breaking the rules, competitiveness, control freak, dilemmas, English language, ethics at work, give us a job, good boss, good job bad job, human resources, man or a mouse, meetings, motivation, negotiations, public relations, presentations, procrastination, public holidays, risk, self-esteem, speaking, stress at work, success or failure, team player, thick skin, typical errors in English, workaholism

Difficult topics (subjects that are not usually discussed, may have an emotional impact, or other areas which might come with a warning): are you financially savvy, are you getting old, fear and terror, good or evil, health and illness, hypochondria, man or a mouse, money, pets, politics, religion, romance, stress at work, thick skin, vanity, wimpy kid, workaholism, young at heart

Education: English language, geography, phrasal verbs, presentations, present perfect tenses, reading, social media, speaking, typical errors in English

Finance and competition: Are you financially savvy, competitiveness, money, negotiations, nimbyism, shopping

Health: anger, being boring, control freak, health, health and illness, hypochondria, procrastination, self-esteem, stress, stress at work, thick skin, workaholism

Leisure: Christmas, driving, English language, exciting stuff, good cook bad cook, laziness, living abroad, music, pets, reading, shopping, sport, summer/annual holidays, town mouse or country mouse, typical errors in English

Psychological: are you a good friend, anger, are you getting old, arrogance, breaking the rules, conspiracy theories, control freak, fear and terror, good or evil, happiness, humour, hypochondria, introvert or extrovert, man or a mouse, motivation, nimbyism, optimism or pessimism, procrastination, risk, self-esteem, spontaneity, stress, stress at work, success or failure, temper temper, thick skin, vanity, workaholism, would I lie to you?

Stereotypes: American, British, French, German, Polish, Russian, living abroad

Technology: driving, mobile phones, Polish TV, presentations, social media, technophile or technophobe, the internet

 

You will notice that some topics appear in more than one section, but often the subjects covered will mean there is some degree of overlap.

All these subjects that include a piece of text to read that is connected to the topic, along with a vocabulary list (that usually - but not always! - have no more than twenty words or phrases) for further practice. These are usually prepared as handouts. Those subjects in red are recent new additions that have been added in 2020. Afterwards, there is usually a fun quiz in the form of a PowerPoint presentation and sharing screen.

American Stereotypes                  Anger                                          Apathy                                           Are you a good friend                Are you Financially Savvy 

Are you getting old                       Arrogance                                  Being Boring                                  Breaking the Rules                     British Stereotypes            Christmas                                     Competitiveness                        Conspiracy theories                      Control Freak                               Cynicism                           

Dares                                             Dilemmas                                  Driving                                           Ecomentalism                             English language

Ethics at Work                              Exciting Stuff                              Fear and Terror                             French Stereotypes                     Geography

German Stereotypes                    Give Us a Job                             Good boss                                      Good Cook Bad Cook                 Good job bad job                      Good or evil                                  Grumpiness                               Happiness                                      Health                                         Health and illness                     Human resources                        Humour                                      Hypochondria                               Introvert or Extrovert                 Laziness                                      Living Abroad                               Man or a Mouse                        Meetings                                        Mobile phones                            Money                                        Motivation                                    Music                                          Negotiations                                 Nimbyism                                    Optimism or pessimism            Perceptions                                   Pets                                            Phrasal verbs                                Polish Stereotypes                       Polish TV                                    Politics                                          Presentations                             Present perfect tenses                  Procrastination                           Public Holidays                         Public relations                            Reading                                      Religion                                          Risk                                              Romance                                    Russian Stereotypes                     Self-esteem                                Shoppi ng                                       Snobbery                                     Social Media                              Speaking                                       Spontaneity                                Sport                                              Stress                                           Stress at work                            Success or failure                        Summer (or annual) holidays   Team Player                                   Technophile or technophobe     Temper temper                          

The Internet                                 Thick Skin                                    Town Mouse/Country Mouse       Typical Errors in English             Vanity                                          Wimpy Kid                                    Workaholism                              Would I lie to you?                        Young at Heart

More subjects will be added to this list over the next few months. And years, probably, but I'm aiming to have a total of 100 subjects, and I hope to have completed this by 2022 at the earliest.

I also have a series of 'random' topics (which used to be in the form of PowerPoint presentations, but have now been replaced by something more random; shuffling cards. These are also ideal for students from pre-intermediate levels and also for older primary school children onwards. I have three sets of cards, labelled 'questions' 'yes no why' and 'choices'.

A nice little subject called Four weeks on a desert island is almost always the first topic I do with a new student, as they discuss what things they would take to the island for four weeks, whilst allowing me to get to know them a little more. The taboo topics are those subjects which, as a general rule, teachers should avoid completely when taking classes. My questions do not go into personal detail, but should a student choose this topic, they are reminded of the fact that the very subject makes it controversial and that they are free to change the subject.

To give you an idea of the kind of conversations I have, I'm going to give you one of the subjects listed above. There will be ten questions, followed by some additional comments by myself as to how the lesson was conducted at that particular point.

You will need a pencil and paper to record your answers!

If you're ready...

Author, cartoonist, language instructor, English text proofing, and a definite sense of humour

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