"In my own teaching, I have found questions and quotations to be highly effective in promoting student discussion. Questions are useful in that they require a response from the listener. Asking them also helps students master the tricky rules of the interrogative. Quotations are brilliant flashes of wit expressed in the shortest space possible, often just a sentence or two. The authors have compiled a formidable collection of quotations by famous people.
The authors also add some wise proverbs here and there. My two favourites were 'Recite "patience" three times and it will spare you a murder' and 'When money talks, truth keeps silent,' which are from Korea and Russia.
In sum, Compelling Conversations is a recommended resource for teachers who want to make their conversation classes more learner-centered. It should be especially appealing to those who wish to escape the confines of the Presentation-Practice-Production approach and do without a formal grammatical or functional syllabus. It reflects the authors' considerable professional experience, and would be a notable addition to any English teacher's bookshelf."
English Teaching Professional magazine, January 2009
...should be on every ESL teacher's bookshelf!
"Suitable for intermediate and above, Compelling Conversations has topics that will fit in with any lesson based on topics, or just as a stand-alone speaking lesson. The questions have been designed to build the conversation, taking the discussion to a deep level....Each topic has consistency of structure with the four sections, talking, vocabulary, sayings, continued conversation and quotations that fit with the topic. Overall, a book that should be on every ESL teacher's bookshelf!"
Gramarye website, April 16, 2011
... high-stakes conversations
"Listening events are not difficult to set up. Ideas that have worked for me: values clarification exercises (see Hall Houston's Provoking Thought, Chapter 4, for numerous ideas), watching emotional speeches (see american rhetoric.com for some inspiring examples; check out the "Movie Speeches" for some great moments), and "high-stakes conversations" (see Eric H. Roth and Toni Aberson's Compelling Conversations Section 1 for launchpad ideas)."
Author of Teaching and Listening Reseach (2nd Edition)
on A Teacher in Taoyuan blog (April 9, 2011)
...The Language of Opportunity
"Dedicated to his father, Dani Roth-who spoke six languages and 'could talk with almost anyone'-the book provides an alternative to 'presentation-practice-production' approach to language learning, instead using quotations, questions, and proverbs to prompt conversation...
'In the classroom and in the book we try to create a space that's tolerant and rigorous at the same time,' Roth says.'"The focus is on learning by doing, and we want to give people room to make good mistakes-errors that help us learn. When people expect themselves to be perfect, they go silent.'
Most of the book's prompts ask for recollections or personal opinions.
'Whatever perspective you bring to the book, I want you to find validation in some great thinker, that it's okay to see things that way. That gives us all the freedom to be ourselves and less of who we think we should be, or who we've been programmed or conditioned to be.'
Roth believes that the English language itself can be liberating.
'Learning English can allow some to escape the prison of their national background. In many languages, the words are either masculine or feminine. English doesn't do this. Much has been written about why English-speaking countries were the first of women's rights; the language doesn't discriminate against women structurally.'
Wabash College Magazine
Fall 2011 by Steve Charles