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Building Fluency: How Can I Choose My Own Topic?

These materials will help you to prepare for a fluency building lesson on a topic that you have chosen yourself. I give some general guidelines on topic choice and how to make the most of the materials as well as a list of good sources of materials online.

Choosing a Topic and Topic Questions:

The rule I always use here is simple, choose things that you find interesting, personally relevant and want to be able to communicate about better - by doing this you will be learning language that you can immediately use in your everyday life.

To guide learning it can be really helpful to think of questions that would allow you to think about the topic more effectively - it's also a really good way of giving lessons additional structure. For example, if you want to develop your vocabulary around economics then asking the question "how does Capitalism work" or "is Capitalism good for everyone" would get you thinking about the topic in a way that would relate to actual real life conversation. If you need help thinking of good questions then I'll help to create them according to what I know will support your learning effectively - just let me know.

Good Sources For Materials:

If you have a specific topic that you want to focus on then it's worth searching for good materials, i.e., use Google (or YouTube if you want videos). Just make sure that whatever you choose is written in good English and that the level of difficuflty and length of the materials suits you.

Alternatively you might want to take inspiration from one of the many sources listed below;

  • The main news websites that I use are; The Guardian, The Independent and BBC News, all of which contains many subsections related to business, society, culture and other relevant things, so it's worth being familiar with what the website has to offer.

  • For 'Intelligent content' websites, i.e. those that contain in-depth news and analysis written by professional academics and journalists then try; The Conversation, Aeon and Roads and Kingdoms.

  • Websites that contain stories and experiences are excellent sources of natural English, and I have written a separate post about them here.

How to use the Materials:

Materials give you relevant vocabulary about a topic, they also show you how native speakers use this vocabulary to create meaningful and effective sentences.

Translate any new vocabulary and write down what you think you would need to learn to talk about the topic - Any new vocabulary can be learnt most effectively using Anki flashcards. If you find a lot of new vocabulary, set a limit to how much you want to learn and only learn what you think is most relevant for yourself.

Make a note of any questions that you have about the language or grammar used in the materials to discuss together - by having questions about grammatical structures or langue that you don't fully understand I am able to teach you the parts of the language that you would really benefit from understanding.

When you have looked at the materials that you want to talk about then you are ready for the lesson!

Lastly, remember who this will all fit into a lesson:

The main focus of fluency buildings lessons is to use the materials as the basis of natural conversation about the topic to give you the opportunity to really develop your speaking skills, identify any further missing vocabulary and activate passive vocabulary, correct grammatical and pronunciation errors and actively teach you skills that will bring your English forwards.


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