I teach conversational English to college students in China. Sometimes it has proved quite difficult to get them to speak or to keep them interested in the topic. However, I have found just the right solution. On the internet, there are numerous sites dedicated to this, I search for good quotes or proverbs and write one down on a index card (You don't actually need the internet, if you think hard enough you can remember many). For a class of 30-35 students I make sure I have about 20 different quotes. Have the students divide themselves into small groups, 3 or 4 per group. Each group chooses a card (I fan them out like a deck of cards upside down and let them choose) and then they talk about the quote. What does it mean and do you agree or disagree and why? I take my time walking around from group to group and letting them explain what they have come up with, a different student speaks each time around. When they have completed one card, I let them choose another and this contiues until the class is over.
My students really enjoy this and I find that even the quite ones speak up. They really enjoy the process of choosing the card as well.
Some good quotes that have worked well:
*Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can
*It's easy to speak badly of things you can't have
*Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you
*you cannot judge a bood by its cover
*The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes (most students disagree with this for some reason)
*By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he's wrong.
*live and let live
*Actions speak louder than words
*sooner or later we all quote our mothers
Have fun and take care,
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