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English Conversation – Education

Saturday, March 12, 2011 @ 09:03 PM
posted by Jo

This is the preparation material for an English Conversation lesson about education. There is an audio file in which two people raise some controversial issues about university education. There are some common idioms that we use when discussing education, a list of conversation questions that people might ask eachother when talking about this subject and some education vocabulary.

Audio Discussion about Education

Listen to a discussion about university education

Transcript of discussion

* Audio courtesy of elllo.org

Questions about the audio discussion

Did you hear any idiomatic expressions used in Jeff and Todd’s discussion?

What is your opinion of Todd's comment that education systems are geared to make money?

Do you think it is true that universities teach passive learning?

Idioms we might use when discussing education

To have one's head or nose in the books - to be studying all the time.

To hit the books - means to study hard.

Cut class or skip class - to not go to class

Pass with flying colours - to pass something easily and with a high score.

To learn something off by heart - To learn something in such a way that you can say it from memory.

Conversation questions about education

  • What is the school system like in your country?
  • Does your country provide a public school system?
  • Is there anything you would change about the education system?
  • What do you remember about your teachers? Were there any that really inspired you?
  • Were there any teachers that you didn’t like? Why?
  • What was your school like?
  • Are you still friends with anyone that you went to school with?
  • What subjects were you good at?
  • What subjects were you not good at?
  • Do you have boarding schools in your country? Are they popular?
  • Did you go to university?
  • What did you study at university?
  • Did you enjoy your time there?
  • Was it very difficult?
  • How did going to university compare to your schooling?
  • Do you think private schools and universities offer higher quality education or are they just prestigious?
  • Does your country have good public universities?
  • Are there any changes you would make to the education system in your country?
  • Are university fees reasonable in your country?
  • Do many people in your country study abroad?
  • Do you think it is easier to learn as a child or as an adult?
  • Does education guarantee a good job in your country?
  • What are the qualities of a good teacher?
  • Do parents home-school their children in your country?
  • What do you think of home schooling?
  • What are some ways a person can continue to learn when they are an adult? Do you have colleges in your country which offer courses for adults?
  • Do you think it is good for schools to insist on students wearing uniforms? Why?
  • What do you think about gap years where students take a year off between school and university and visit another country?
  • Are there problems with gangs in the schools in your country?
  • Are foreign languages part of the school curriculum? If so, which languages?
  • Are there any subjects/classes you wanted to study but they weren't available at your school/college?
  • What are some important factors in determining which university to attend?
  • Do you think education should be free?

Education Vocabulary

Here is a selected list of words related to education. Make a note of any that you are not familiar with. We will discuss any unfamiliar words and their usage:

  • Illiteracy
  • Boarding
  • Examiner
  • Tertiary education
  • Vocational
  • Freshman
  • Recess
  • Apprenticeship
  • Doctorate
  • Scholarship
  • Retake
  • Revise
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