English as a foreign or second language (EFL, ESL) classes in any part of the world.
Intermediate - upper intermediate / advanced. The exercises work best with students aged 18+. The only low level book in the series is Elementary Discussions AZ.
How are the topics arranged?
In Discussions Vols. 1-3, Elementary Discussions AZ and Business Discussions AZ, the main topic areas are arranged in A-Z order. Each topic has four exercises, with a total of 104 exercises in each book. There is no specific order to follow the exercises. Teachers can dip in at random. In Discussion Days 1-366, the exercises are in chronological order, and in the other books they are divided up by themes.
How do the books work?
Students discuss questions, often in the form of a fun / factual quiz, or related to an authentic text / quotation. There are no comprehension questions. Students will thus feel they are discussing something interesting, and that the language of discussion just happens to be in English.
What format are the books?
The books are only available for purchase on Amazon, in Paperback and Kindle formats. The format for Kindle reads best on a tablet, telephone or laptop. This means that you have the option to project exercises onto a screen / whiteboard for your students to see.
The questions and texts break with the approach typically used in ESL /EFL textbooks by presenting a new slant on some traditional topics, and also offering topics that have never been found before in a discussion book.
What preparation is involved for the teacher?
None. However, Discussions Vols. 2 and 3, which contain 'controversial' topics (marked with a ) entail i) deciding whether the exercise is suitable; ii) deciding on how the questions might be answered; and iii) checking with the key (the key contains the answers to the factual questions).
What's the duration of a typical exercise?
Depending on the students' level of interest, some exercises can be used as 10-minute warm ups or lesson fillers, others may develop into fully-blown 60-minute discussions.
Is there a teacher's book?
Yes. It can be downloaded for free here. The books themselves also contain a Teachers Introduction and a Students Introduction. The Students Introduction tells students how the book works along with various strategies for having an effective discussion and improving their conversation skills in general.