Topic Talk: Discussions in the Classroom

Discussions in the classroom allow students to explore their English in order to express their opinions clearly and to talk about the things they really care about.

I previously wrote about Setting Discussion Goals back in April of 2015. The activity I described in that post was based on a tic-tac-toe grid and used an Excel template to generate a random discussion worksheet.

I followed up this post with a guest article on the British Council’s voices blog called ‘A few discussion activities for English language students.’ One of the points I mentioned was to help students organise their ideas and to breakdown discussion topics into smaller questions. This is the idea behind Topic Talk.

Topic Talk presents a series of questions that can be discussed by the students but unlike tic-tac-toe, there is not element of a game here. The focus of the template is to introduce discussion topics and promote discussion skills.

Topic Talk - Featured ImageTopic Talk - Menu Screen BLANKTopic Talk - Topic Statement BLANK

Download the Topic Talk template.

The template contains 11 slides – a title slide, a menu screen and nine topic cards.

You can also copy the menu slide and topic cards into your own presentation but check that all the [hyper]links remain unchanged.

  • Right-click on the slide and click on copy
  • Change the window to your new template by clicking on the file open on the taskbar
  • Right-click in the slide view pane on the left-hand side of your current presentation and click on paste (keep source formatting).

Using the Template

Topic Talk - Menu Screen BLANK

  • Download and open the template.
  • Go to the menu screen slide.
  • Click on the text boxes and add your own text.

Topic Talk - Menu Screen Example.PNG

  • Each text box represents a slide.
    • Top Row: Slide 3, Slide 4, and Slide 5
    • Middle Row: Slide 6, Slide 7, and Slide 8
    • Bottom Row: Slide 9, Slide 10, and Slide 11
  • Go to the correct slide that connects to the topic.

Topic Talk - Topic Statement BLANK

  • Click on the text and add your topic question or topic statement.

Topic Talk - Topic Statement Example

  • Give your students an opportunity to discuss the topic.


  • When the topic has been discussed. Click on the topic card to return to the menu screen.
  • The discussed topics will appear faded on the menu screen.

That’s it! I hope you’ll enjoy using Topic Talk to help generate discussions in the classroom.

The Topic Talk template was designed with Microsoft PowerPoint 2016. Animations and sounds may differ when opened in other presentation software.

Microsoft® Office® is a copyrighted product of the Microsoft® corporation. All images are for educational purposes only

You may also like to read:

Tic-Tac-Toe - Setting Discussion GoalsDiscussion goals are useful because it is difficult to have a long discussion.

This template generates random conversation/discussion topics and assigns them to random squares on the grid.


A discussion can bring out your students’ interests and motivate them; it’s a chance for them to talk about the things they really care about. Giving and justifying opinions in English can also bring students a sense of accomplishment, as they are using the language to express complex ideas.

British Council Voices LinkThis guest article on the British Council voices blog introduces some different activities to bring discussions into the classroom.

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