I wanted to use this moment to introduce a book that I have used again and again in class. In fact, some lessons I have shared on this site have been inspired by the activities I have found in this book.
Discussion Starters by Keith S. Folse: Pros
The best thing about this book is that it covers a wide variety of topics. It has many types of activities that as I say have inspired me to create my own classes. One of my favorite activities, that was one of the first posts on this site came from this book.
This book uses real court cases and situations to spur on conversation. The activity section introduces the subject and then asks students to be the judge in the case. (If there is a court case) They discuss and then come to their own conclusions in the case.
The back of the book contains the real outcome of the case. Note: Some results are not that satisfying because it only says that the case is still ongoing. I found for some of them I had to do some Googling to find out what happened in the end.
- Overall Rank: 4 out of 5 Apples
- Product Description: ESL Discussion Book
- Best Price: Amazon
- Product Specifications: Packed with ESL Activities and Discussions
The book also contains various exercises that are very different and just fun to have students do. I think one of their favorite activities was when I read aloud the situation that there was a passenger on a train and when the train came into the station the police and emergency personnel were there to meet the train at the station.
What happened? Well, that’s the whole point of the situation. You take three students out of the class and they are the judges. Only they know what really happened. The other students have to ask questions or make statements and are only given “you’re getting colder” or “you’re getting hotter” as a response.
The students love it and it usually lasts a full 50-minute class. I just loved this book. Probably one of the best investments I made.
I’ve read up on the other comments about this book and I must admit that there are a few topics that might be outdated. The way you have to find the information for some exercises is also a little confusing and you might have to do some searching for the answers to some court cases on your own.
There are some chapters I never ever touched but I think that is offset by the many times I was able to reuse and adapt the other exercises. The fact that many of the events and court cases in the book took place a while ago doesn’t mean that they aren’t still relevant today. Luckily, history repeats itself.
Lots of Subjects
You will find a variety of subjects to discuss in this book. From how old is too old to have a child to hot button topics like gun control. Other topics include recycling and climate change, whether women should be forced to serve in the military, and the use of drugs.
The chapter on whether women should serve in the military is really introduced in a creative and discussion spurring way. There are also chapters on smoking and smoker’s rights and who should have more rights, humans or animals. It introduces a case of a farmer who went to jail for killing a rat that was eating his grain. Little did he know it was an endangered species! I cannot do this book justice. For me, it was the perfect supplement to my intermediate to advanced discussion classes.
If You Are Overseas, Have a Friend or Family Member Mail It to You
I had this happen a couple of times with some of my favorite books and games. I left one in my classroom for summer break and when I came back it was gone! I was heartbroken. I couldn’t get Amazon in Korea, so I had to order it and have it sent to my folk’s house. They mailed it out as soon as it came in.
Conclusion: Get This ESL Discussion Book Today!
I will review a variety of books and games in the coming months but for my first book, I had to go with one that was invaluable to me in creating exciting and intriguing ESL discussion activities. If you have enjoyed any of the activities on this site, then you should love the book Discussion Starters.
I hope that this book helps you with your class as much as it did with mine.