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 Shopping 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...