By Karen Stanley - Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
- provide a list of interview questions, and have students use them to interview each other; better still, have the class generate questions (with your guidance) on a particular topic, and have the students interview each other using them (one example theme: questions related to the person's carbon footprint). Make sure they don't think they have to write complete sentences with the answer to each question - in fact, they don't necessarily have to record the answer at all. Otherwise, they spend more time writing than talking.
- find a problem to solve in small group discussion; George Rooks' "Who gets the heart?" is a classic example. The students are given a list of different people with different characteristics, all of whom need a heart transplant. They then have to agree on how to prioritize who gets a heart. So, on the list you have someone in his 90s who is a national hero (but probably won't live long), a child who may or may not ever do anything of benefit (but who has a long potential life ahead of him/her), a woman in her mid 20s with not such a good lifestyle, but who has no relatives to take care of her three young children if she dies, etc. I recommend all three of George Rooks' books. He provides limitations and details for each task.
Let's Start Talking (lowest level; simpler, more practical tasks, such as planning a party)
Can't Stop Talking (intermediate; example tasks: planning a travel brochure, deciding which person should get a Citizenship Award )
The Non-Stop Discussion Workbook (advanced; example tasks: Who Gets the Heart, Design a Product and an Advertising Campaign)
Other possible lesson plans from posts to this list can be found at: