Frequently Asked Questions
"Keep it light, bright, and polite."
"The unexamined life is not worth living."
Socrates (467-399 BCE), Greek philosopher
What is Compelling Conversations?
Compelling Conversations: Questions and Quotations
on Timeless Topics is an engaging conversation textbook
for advanced English language learners.
Who can use Compelling Conversations?
Compelling Conversations is an ideal text for
conversation classes at community colleges, adult schools,
libraries, and intensive English programs. It can also
be used as a supplemental text for high intermediate
and advanced ESL/EFL classes. Conversation clubs have
found the textbook makes their sessions easier to organize
and more popular. It’s also a welcome guide for anyone
seeking to generate new conversations with family members
How is Compelling Conversations different from
other conversation textbooks?
Compelling Conversations offers a far larger
range of topics, includes hundreds of proverbs and quotations,
and treats students as sophisticated adults. We believe
that adult students come to English class to improve
their speaking skills and share life experiences, not
be lectured on their health habits or lifestyle choices.
Can you give an example?
Many of our students smoke, gamble, and occasionally
dislike their jobs. Compelling Conversations encourages
students to talk about their actual feelings and opinions,
and doesn't judge them. We ask both "why do you
think people find smoking satisfying?" and "What
are some of the dangers of smoking cigarettes?" We
also include quotations from a range of well-known
figures from differing perspectives so a student will
find validation for their own personal choices.
Aren’t you afraid to have students talk about
Why should we just talk about the weather and become
bored when we could explore our lives, times, passions,
and challenges? Discussing controversial subjects and
engaging students in practical issues of their lives
also encourages critical thinking.
Why do you use quotations?
The dueling quotations also allow students to join conversations
that have continued across cultures and centuries.
As a result, students can deepen their conversations,
see models of excellent communication, and become more
familiar with classic thinkers from ancient world to
modern times. Take a look at the sample chapters and
see how Compelling Conversations can help
students improve their speaking skills.
Can I make copies for myself, other teachers,
students or friends?
Photocopying rights are granted to the individual teacher
purchasing the materials. A school or department may
purchase this book for one teacher’s use. In a department,
one original copy should be purchased for each teacher
using the book. To be entitled to copy this book, the
teacher using the book in the school or the school itself
must own an original copy. Please respect our intellectual
property (and sweat equity!) and copyright laws.
"Do you want to know
how to have a conversation? Ask a question. Listen."
Robert Bly (1926- ), American poet