How to discuss a topic in a groupOn November 5, 2019 by Raul Dinwiddie
Hi! My name is Rebecca, and in today’s lesson
you’ll learn how to participate effectively in a discussion in English, something you
may need to do in your personal, professional, or academic life, okay? Now, the topic we’ll
use as our sample is this one: Is it better to study online or in a regular classroom?
Okay? You’ll have a chance to hear a discussion by native English speakers on this topic.
What I’d like you to do is listen for any special expressions and phrases that they
use during the discussion. Afterwards, I’ll review the expressions and phrases with you,
okay? Now, today I have some special friends who have agreed to help me with this lesson,
and they’re waiting in the classroom next door, so let’s go and
say hello to them. — Hello!
— Hello! — Hi! — Hi!
— Well, look who’s here. It’s — — Ronnie. — Alex.
— James. — Adam. — Thank you for joining me, and thanks for
helping with this lesson, guys. — No problem.
— No problem. — So you know we’re talking about discussions,
and the topic is: Is it better to study online or in a regular classroom? Okay, who wants
to go first? — Okay, so I’ll start, and I think that it’s
actually very good to study online because it’s very convenient because you can study
whenever you want and at your own pace. For example, someone like me, I like to study
at nighttime. So for me, online works better because it’s quiet at night, no one disturbs
me, and I can do what I need to do. — Okay, that’s true, but if you’re going
to study online — — Sorry, but —
— Please let me finish. Let me finish. As I was saying, that’s true, but if you’re studying
online you do need to motivate yourself, so I think it’s better to be in a classroom where
you have other students and a teacher who can motivate you.
— That’s true, but some people can’t afford to go to a classroom and don’t have enough
money or resources to actually go to a big school. So studying online, you can actually
do it for free. — Me? Well, I would like to add — May I
say something? — Sure.
— Soft skills. That’s not usually talked about in schools, but when we talk about “soft
skills”, it’s actual interaction, utilizing your English when you’re with other people,
and that’s hard to get online because you’re watching a screen and not actually interacting
with other people. — You make a very good point but I would
also like to add that sometimes having classmates takes you away from your focus because you
have to maybe review things many times for other people to catch up, or you have to do
topics that are interesting to other people, not to yourself. So it’s a little distracting
sometimes, too. — However, focus is a good thing. I mean,
it’s not a bad thing to repeat something because sometimes people don’t catch the material
the first time. So that way, you go over the material, and they — you know, you get depth.
So you get to learn more, and people who don’t understand get the opportunity to ask questions
and learn from it again. — Yeah, but sometimes the resources that
you get in a classroom are boring, and online you can just look up whatever you need on
the Internet, and you’ve got it right there. You don’t have to rely on a textbook. Sometimes
it can be a bad textbook. — Okay. Don’t get me wrong. I mean, there
are good resources on the Internet, like www.engvid.com. However —
— I’m sorry, did you say www.engvid.com? — I did say www.engvid.com.
— I’ve heard of www.engvid.com. — I think I have too.
— Me too. — Check it out.
— Anyway. It’s a good website. — So as I was saying, don’t get me wrong,
I think there are excellent resources online. However, some students who are just learning
English for the first time might not know how to judge the quality of the resources.
So I think if you go to a school, if you’re inside a classroom, you’re with a teacher
who is trained, is a professional, who can give you the resources you need to improve
your English. — Well, it’s a good thing you said about
professional teachers because at www.engvid.com —
— www.engvid.com? — www.engvid.com.
— www.engvid.com. — Yeah, EngVid?
— We have professional teachers ready to teach you. So in conclusion, in a nutshell,
can we just, kind of, sum up and say that studying online or in a classroom will help
everyone? — Sure.
— I think so. — I can agree with that.
— Okay. All right. Thank you very much for your help guys.
— No problem. — So now, I’ll review some of the phrases
and expressions that you heard in the discussion. — I think that it’s actually very good to
study online. — “I think” is used when you’re going to
express your opinion. You could also say “I believe” and so on. Next. — That’s true, but if you’re going to study
online — — However, focus is a good thing —
— Yeah, but sometimes the resources that you get in a classroom are boring. — Okay, these three phrases, “That’s true,
but”; or “However”; or “Yeah, but”, are used — What do you think? They’re used when we
want to contradict what someone else has said, when we disagree with what someone else has
said. Okay? Next. — You make a very good point, but I would
also like to add that sometimes having classmates takes you away from your focus. — “You made a good point but I’d also like
to add”, is a very nice expression. It shows that you recognize the contribution that someone
else has made to the discussion in the first part, and you’re also going to add your own
opinion, which is different from what the first person said. Next. — But if you’re going to study online —
— Sorry, but — — Me? Well, I would like to add — May I
say something? — “Sorry but”, which Ronnie says, or “May
I say something?”, which James said, are two different ways in which you can interrupt
a discussion. You see that the first one was purposely done for you not in a very polite
way to show you how not to do it. And James says, “May I say something?”, which is a very
polite way to enter a discussion. Next. — Sorry, but —
— Please let me finish. Let me finish. — “Please let me finish” is a very nice way
to hold the floor. What does it mean to “hold the floor” in a discussion? It means to establish
your position as the speaker, all right? So someone else is trying to interrupt, but you
want a chance to finish whatever argument you’re presenting, so you say, “Please let
me finish”, okay? Very nice. Next. — As I was saying, that’s true, but if you’re
studying online — — “As I was saying” is used when you’re returning
to your — to speaking, to whatever you were saying when someone has interrupted you, okay?
It’s a way of saying, “Okay, now I’m talking again”. “As I was saying.” All right? Next. — Okay. Don’t get me wrong. I mean, there
are good resources on the Internet. — Alex uses, “don’t get me wrong”. Now, this
is an interesting expression because when we say this, what we’re saying is that, “I’ve
been explaining something, I’ve been presenting a certain point of view, but I do understand
that there is another point of view, and I accept that, and I understand that. However,
I do still have my opinion.” So we use that when we are taking into account the other
opinion as well. Next. — So in conclusion, in a nutshell, can we
just, kind of, sum up and say that — — Okay, the last three phrases were used
by Ronnie to end the discussion, so “in conclusion”, “in a nutshell”. “In a nutshell” just means
“in short” or “Can we sum up by saying…” “Can we sum up?” means “Can we summarize?”
All right? So that’s a nice way to end a discussion by including everyone in it. It’s not as if
one person is deciding to end the discussion. She’s sort of asking everyone’s permission
by saying, “can we sum up by saying”, okay? I hope this lesson has given you a number
of different expressions that you can use when you’re taking part in a discussion, all
right? If you’d like to do a quiz on this subject, please go to our website, www.engvid.com. Thanks
very much for watching, and good luck with your English.