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, conversation, driving, exciting stuff, good cook bad cook, laziness, music, pets, Poland, procrastination, Polish TV, public holidays, reading, shopping, sport, summer/annual holidays, United Kingdom
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, customer service, dilemmas, email, English language, ethics at work, give us a job, good boss, good job bad job, human resources, man or a mouse, meetings, motivation, negotiations, quality, public relations, presentations, procrastination, public holidays, risk, self-esteem, speaking, stress at work, success or failure, team player, thick skin, typical errors in English, typical errors in English 2, 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, bad language, 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: a, an & the, bad language, conversation, English language, geography, intonation, phrasal verbs, Poland, presentations, present perfect tenses, reading, social media, speaking, typical errors in English, typical errors in English 2, United Kingdom
Finance and competition: Are you financially savvy, competitiveness, money, negotiations, nimbyism, quality, shopping
Health: anger, being boring, control freak, health, health and illness, hypochondria, procrastination, self-esteem, stress, stress at work, thick skin, workaholism
Leisure: Christmas, conversation, driving, English language, exciting stuff, good cook bad cook, laziness, living abroad, music, pets, Poland, reading, shopping, sport, summer/annual holidays, town mouse or country mouse, United Kingdom
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 new topics that have been added in 2021. Afterwards, there is usually a fun quiz in the form of a PowerPoint presentation and sharing screen.
A, an & the
Are you a good friend
Are you financially Savvy
Are you getting old
Breaking the Rules
Ethics at Work
Fear and Terror
Give Us a Job
Good Cook Bad Cook
Good job bad job
Good or evil
Health and illness
Introvert or Extrovert
Man or a Mouse
Optimism or pessimism
Present perfect tenses
Stress at work
Success or failure
Summer (or annual) holidays
Technophile or technophobe
Town Mouse/Country Mouse
Typical Errors in English
Typical Errors in English 2
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