Difficult Decisions is one of the more straightforward series that I have developed. It’s purely a conversation series that focuses on various problems that a specific group of people may face in their lives. As it is a series that is focused on life’s problems, it’s really great for getting experienced adults to speak out, and getting teens to reflect on potential problems in their futures and share what they would do in various situations.
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!
Lower-Intermediate – Advanced
Late Teen – Adult
- Be aware of your demographic and target audience. Since the presentations in this series deal with problems in life, some issues may be sensitive, so consider beforehand on how to present the information in the most sensitive way possible.
- 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 discussion question.
- If possible, you can send the opening discussion question 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 types of problems they think the group listed in the class title typically have.
3. Have the students share their ideas for a couple of minutes to warm them up.
(5-10 minutes total)
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.
(5-10 minutes each)
1. Have one student read the problem.
2. Cover any difficult vocabulary, and paraphrase the problem for clarity.
3. Have the other students read the options.
4. Cover any difficult vocabulary, and paraphrase the options for clarity.
5. Allow the students 5-10 minutes per problem to discuss which option they would choose and why.
6. If time permits, encourage some students to share their choices.
(5-10 minutes total)
1. Conduct these as you would the discussion questions at the beginning of the class.
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