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Give 'em something to talk/write about...

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On those days when the creative energy just isn't there, I make use of the discussion questions that have been provided, and of course several of my own, and suggestions from students.

Firstly using brightly coloured card about 10cm x 10cm and various shapes, prepare Discussion Topic cards. Laminate them, and put them in a box.
As part of a Crime Topic...
LYING - What is a white lie?, Is it ever 'o.k.' to lie?
THE POLICE - What is their role?, Should they carry weapons?, Are they paid enough?
PUNISHMENT - An eye for an eye?, Should a child receive the same punishment as an adult for the same crime?
BREAKING THE LAW - Who breaks the law?, Have you ever broken the law (eg, speeding, parking) photocopying?, Is it o.k if everyone does it?

I make sure I have coloured pens & A3 sized paper/card availble.

You can organise them according to topics, long & short discussions or have a mixed box.

When you have extra time or sense everyone everyone needs a change of scene, shake up the box and have someone choose a card. If the students are in groups, give everyone a different card (topic related) and have them report back with their own group wall display.

The students can then discuss (in pairs, groups and 1:1 with their tutor).

To review the discussion, as a group we choose some points, sentences or words to display for the wall. I attach the card(s) discussed for future recall. This activity can be used to generate ideas for hesitant writing students to write about.

This has become a regular part of lessons and Adult students really enjoy some natural and direct participation. It easily covers the four skills in a 'production' setting and is great for informal assessment.

- Vanita Hurndell
Christchurch, NZ
- Sorry about the NZ English spelling

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