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Cats Make Better Pets than Dogs

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Sometimes the simplest ideas are the most effective. I developed this activity, early in my career, in a desperate effort to get lower intermediate students talking. It worked.
First, brainstorm a few dozen opinions. These may be colourful, but should not be too "heavy". Examples include: "Korean food is delicious", "Most American movies are interesting", "Smoking is expensive", and yes "Cats make better pets than dogs". You can print these opinions on index cards, if you like.
Have your students take turns reading the questions aloud and then discuss your individual thoughts on the opinion stated.
You may want to explain that the opinions on the cards are not necessarily yours, but are just examples of possible views on different subjects.
Once you get into the swing of things, this activity is good for one boredom-free hour of conversation. If you have several students in your class, make sure they all get a chance to state their feelings on each subject. Also, don`t be afraid to let this excercise branch out into a free conversation, if that`s the way it`s going. It`s meant to be a catalyst, after all. On the other hand, if you have any awkward pauses you can just jump right into the next opinion and take it from there.
Will Habington. Takada, Japan

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