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A new semester begins, new students enter our classes, and returning colleagues greet us. What can talk about that will go beyond the work-related activities?
Teachers, especially English teachers, love to talk about their summer reading. Reading remains a cheap pleasure and an excellent conversation starter.
* Can you recommend a good book?
* What did you this summer?
* What are reading these days – besides student papers?
Books and ideas still matter in our 21st century global culture of blogs, especially for starting conversations. Discussing books, sharing ideas, and exchanging tips helps elevate casual office chit-chat into more satisfying verbal exchanges.
In the past few weeks, I’ve enjoyed several satisfying conversations with my teaching colleagues – and a few more memorable conversations with strangers about books. How?
I looked around, noted the reading choices of folks, and asked a friendly question.
• Is that a good book?
• How did you choose that book?
• Can you recommend a good book?
Likewise, talking about books and reading pleasures gives us new information about our world – and insights into our friends and students. For longer, better conversations, you can ask the following questions:
• What’s the best book you’ve read this year?
• Who is your favorite author, anyway?
* How have your reading habits changed?
• Are you still reading Alain de Botton?
* What are you reading these days?
If you have time to listen, the answers might surprise you.
Our English students also enjoy talking about their favorite books and reading experiences. Here’s a link to a conversation lesson that I’ve had success with in high intermediate and advanced ESL/EFL classes.