Deliberations is a series focused on getting ESL students of an intermediate level to engage with each other through discussion questions and debatable choices that allow students to explore a range of ideas. This is not a traditional debate class where one person speaks and presents a planned-out argument. Instead, this class is meant to encourage group discussion.
The following guidelines are meant to give you a general overview on how to conduct a class using this PowerPoint presentation. This guide is intentionally general, as ESL students and classes around the world have a range of needs and strengths, and different teachers have different styles.
Please be aware that these are the guidelines that I use in my classes, and they work for me. However, as you may have a different teaching style, take the guidelines with a grain of salt, and experiment with how to present the information within the presentation to make it fit your teaching style.
As always, if you like this presentation, and have a great class, please refrain from sharing this presentation with your colleagues, and share a link to ESLPPT.com instead. This is my livelihood, after all. Have a great class!
Intermediate – Advanced
Late Teen – Adult
- The pictures within each presentation were chosen to help students better guess the meaning of new vocabulary, or better grasp the point of activities and discussion questions. I recommend familiarizing yourself with the pictures, and thinking about how you can use them to highlight points or give examples.
- While this series is more discussion-driven, some presentations may have activities included. Take a little extra time to think about the “Activities” included in the presentation. They are different from presentation to presentation, and you may need to prepare some scrap paper or other items beforehand, or think about how to adapt them or expand them.
- I’ve found that dividing students into groups of 3-5 each works best. If there are more than that, some students may not have a chance to speak, or may try to blend in and not speak out. Conversely, if there are only two students, they may blaze through the activities too quickly.
- It’s also best practice to mix groups regarding levels and personalities. If you mix more outspoken students together with shyer students, and then give the outspoken students leadership roles within the groups, they will encourage the shyer students to speak, rather than remaining quiet the entire class. This also works when mixing high- and low-level ESL students. By giving stronger, or outspoken, students leadership roles, they get to practice and mentor, and the other students also will get more opportunities to speak out.
- Be flexible with your time. You don’t have to finish the presentation in one class, or at all. If you plan to allow 15 minutes for one activity, but students seem really engaged with the activity and don’t show signs of slowing down after 15 minutes, then don’t stop them. The point of the class is to get the students speaking and practicing, so give them additional time if they are doing that. Conversely, if the students are slowing down and becoming quiet after 10 minutes, jump in and expand on the activity, or move on.
- While the presentations were developed for 55-minute classes, some of them can be stretched over two classes. It really depends on your students, and how much time they are spending on each activity or discussion question.
- If possible, you can send the vocabulary slides out to your students one or two days before class. This will allow them to prepare, and have a general idea about what to expect in the class. If you do not engage with your students digitally outside of class, then you can print out the aforementioned slides and distribute them a day before.
- During the class, don’t get too bogged down on specific words and phrases. Paraphrase when needed, and encourage students to move on. When they focus on small details, they end up having less time to actually practice speaking.
Sections (Note: Not all sections are included in all presentations.)
1. Introduce the topic.
2. Ask the students what they think it means.
3. Explain any difficult vocabulary included in the topic title.
1. Ask the students to repeat after you.
2. Read through the vocabulary, one-by-one.
3. Repeat any difficult words two or three times.
4. Ask the students to work in groups to discuss what they think each word means.
5. After allowing the students 2-3 minutes to discuss the vocabulary, elicit from them briefly what they think each means, and explain as needed.
1. Allow the students to spend 1-3 minutes discussing each question.
2. Have a few students share their ideas for each question before moving on to the next one.
1. Many of the debates involve “Situation” introductions. If so, have one student read it out, and then you paraphrase the information to clarify.
2. Have one student read the debate intro information, and paraphrase as needed.
3. Have other students read out the debate options, and paraphrase as needed.
4. Allow the students 5-10 minutes per debate to discuss which option they would choose and why.
5. If time permits, encourage some students to share their choices.
1. Have a student read the activity.
2. Paraphrase the instructions, and ask some instruction checking questions (ICQs) to check for understanding.
3. Allow the students time to complete the activity.
4. Migrate around the room, listening in and providing feedback as needed.
5. If time permits, allow the students to share with the class.
1. Conduct these as you would the discussion questions at the beginning of the class.
1. Have a student read the information on the slide.
2. Paraphrase for clarification.
3. Allow time for discussion.
4. Ask the students if the information surprises them or not, and have them explain why.
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