Discussion Question Groupings: Mix it Up

We’re working on a Teachers’ Notes resource for our Discussion Starters section. Teachers tell us that these lessons (almost 30 in the library now) are popular because they are short and relevant. We’ve covered topics such as hazing, flu shots, and social media.

A number of discussion questions are included in these lessons. In fact, some teachers JUST use the questions and the audio file. How much or how little you use of a lesson is totally up to you and your students.  How you get your students talking is also up to you. Depending on the size of your group and the amount of time you have in class, a good portion of the discussion may actually take place outside of class.

Review this list and consider new groupings and possibilities to get your English learners more interested in the discussion questions in the materials and textbooks you use. Be sure to go beyond the first few traditional choices.

  • As a whole class during class
  • In small groups during class
  • In pairs during class
  • As journal topics
  • One-on-one during tutoring sessions or private lessons
  • In chat rooms on social networks for English learners
  • With Skype partners from class or in a classroom exchange
  • In a Facebook group (use ESL-Library’s or create a page for your class)
  • On a Twitter chat (use a set #tag such as #twinglish-tattoos)
  • As telephone homework
  • While texting on mobile devices
  • With a parent or family member for homework (why not video tape it?)
  • In a school blog series (with other sts and teachers leaving comments)
  • On a discussion board or forum
  • In a classroom exchange (do a student swap with another class)
  • As part of a role play activity (such as “small talk” at a bus stop or in a grocery store line up)

If you can think of any other suggestions to add to this list, please leave a comment.

Each Discussion Starter lesson in the ESL-Library includes a short reading with an optional audio file and a few vocabulary review activities. These audio files are also available FREE in our iTunes podcast so that students can preview the reading before class. Learners can also use these for extra homework or as a self-study exercise. Share this How to Practice Listening resource with your learners.


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