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, 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

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, 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 (25/02/20). 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                    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                                                Polish Stereotypes                          Polish TV                                     Politics                                             Presentations                                Procrastination                               Public Holidays                          Public relations                               Reading                                         Religion                                            Risk                                              Romance                                         Russian Stereotypes                      Self-esteem                                      Shoppi ng                                    Snobbery                                         Social Media                                  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 or 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.

I also have a series of 'random' topics, and these are also ideal for students from pre-intermediate levels and also for older primary school children onwards. These are categorised as:

Agree or disagree                          Changes                                          Choices 1-11                                    Defend the Indefensible           Four weeks on a desert island     Grumpy grammar                          Guess who is coming to dinner      Have you ever? 1-3                   Interesting activities                      Silly Question                                 The last word                                   Unreal conditionals 1-2          Wishes, wants and regrets           Yes No Why 1-29                            Yes No Why Other Half Special

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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