AZ resource book of stimulating topics with texts and related questions for ESL and EFL courses
Can Discussions Volume 1

Adrian Wallwork & Liz Hoeppner

Adrian Wallwork is the author of three discussion books for Cambridge University Press, four business English courses for Oxford University Press, ten books on academic English for SpringerNature (plus five on business English and six on general English), along with six books for the BBC, Scholastic and BEP. Read more

Liz Hoeppner Liz studied for her BA in English and American Literature at the University of Kent (2008) followed by an MA in Literary Studies at Aberystwyth University (2011). While studying, she co-hosted student literary conferences and interned at local and national publishing companies, including Honno Press in Wales and Penguin Books in London. Read more

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Who are these books for?

English as a foreign or second language (EFL, ESL) classes in any part of the world.


Vol. 1: intermediate and above aged 16+. Vols. 2 and 3: upper intermediate and above, adults.

How are the topics arranged?

The main topic areas are arranged in A-Z order. Each topic has four exercises. There is no specific order to follow the exercises. Teachers can dip in at random.

How does it work?

There are 104 exercises in each book. Students discuss questions, which are either 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's new?

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 (many of which are controversial) that have never been found before in a discussion book.

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.

How controversial are the discussions?

Volume 1 contains no controversial discussions - though clearly it depends on your definition of 'controversial'. Volume 2 contains 13 controversial exercises, and over a third of Volume 3 is dedicated to controversial subject matter (39 out of 104 exercises) . These exercises are marked with a and are 'controversial' in the sense that they cover sensitive political, sexual, gender and racial issues. Such exercises work fine with students who know each other well, but are probably not suitable for multinational classes.

What preparation is involved for the teacher?

In Volume 1 none. Volumes 2 and 3 require some preparation by the teacher in terms of i) deciding whether the exercise is suitable ii) deciding on how the questions might be answered iii) checking with the key (the key contain answers to factual questions). Is there a teachers 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.

What format is the book?

The book is 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.

Image of an open book
The reading exercises are authentic texts of around 100-150 words, and can be read in between one to five minutes. They are not designed to be a reading comprehension exercise but a springboard to conversation.
Adrian Wallwork

Buy the Paperback or eBook on Amazon