written by: Audrey Alleyne
• edited by: Linda M. Rhinehart Neas
• updated: 8/2/2012
This article gives a guide to using discussion techniques in ESL lesson plans for main ideas.
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For these ESL lesson plans for main ideas, you can begin your class by suggesting three topics. Have students vote on which one they would like to discuss. Tell them “Today we will discuss families of words. We will explore this exercise while discussing any one of the following topics you may choose. We will vote on the topics, and choose the one with the most votes. I propose fashion, health and sports."
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After the topic has been chosen, it is probably better to solicit their opinions first, so they can be encouraged to speak. In these discussions while the teacher is there as a guide, the object is for the students to speak as much as possible. Ask students their opinions about the topic. You may then give your opinion. Encourage students to agree and to disagree. This encourages another objective in the lesson, that of vocabulary relating to agreeing and disagreeing. Encourage argument with questions and answers based on questions like “Why?" and suppositions like “if" and “then". End by expressing solutions and alternatives.
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Discussion On Sport
Let’s say, the highest votes were for the topic on sport. Students can debate for example, sports and danger, sports and money, sports and drugs or sports and violence. Find a suitable article form a newspaper or magazine clipping or from Breaking News for ESL classes.
Here are some questions, which can be asked during discussion.
1. Have you taken part in sports in your country? Are you active in sports now?
2. Which are the popular sports in your country?
3. What do you think of the increased interest of people in being a member of a gym?
4. Do you attend a gym? If so, why?
5. Do you think mountain climbing, skiing and boxing are dangerous sports?
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After students have studied the article and discussed it, a vocabulary exercise to understand families of words can go like this:
Which is the odd one out?
Olympic Games____World Cup___Test Match
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Health and Fashion
Let’s say the topic voted on was Health. You can teach vocabulary relating to health problems. Discussions can center on “Are all medicines safe?" or a provocative one “Which is more important, money or health?"
If your topic chosen was fashion, discussions can focus on the popular jeans. “What are the reasons for the success of this fashionable form of clothing?" “Do you agree with women wearing jeans to the theatre or an opera or a business reception?"
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By the end of the lesson, students should be able to distinguish families of words, learn vocabulary expressions for agreeing and disagreeing, and have a collection of new vocabulary on the topic chosen.