Education should clearly be more than just simple academic development and standardized testing, but how can complicated social issues be handled in the classroom? Especially with students under the age of 18.


This post offers a simple activity to discuss consent in the ESL classroom for intermediate to advanced students. It is a cross curricular activity between English and PSHE (personal, social and health education). A subject that is a key part of the curriculum in Britain, but not so much in some other countries. Do you study anything similar in your country?


Discussion questions on social issues?

  1. Should controversial topics such as child slavery or domestic violence be dealt with in an academic environment?
  2. Which ways could teachers promote equality in the classroom?
  3. Do teachers make good use of social media in high schools or university?
  4. Is it important to teach PSHE (keep yourself safe and prepare you for life) in schools and to discuss social issues is class?
  5. Did you study anything similar to PSHE in your country?
  6. What are the benefits of having better social awareness?
  7. How should sex education be taught in schools, to those below the age of consent?
  8. Would it be better to have guest speakers, such as nurses or social workers handle delicate topics such as consent?
  9. What strategies could we use to handle current social issues in our society?
  10. Does the government do enough to find a solution to problems in today`s society?




What I think is an essential part of the teaching and learning process when it comes to complex issues such as these is to make use of media resources, and make the classes as visual (HERE) or interactive (HERE)as possible. Students need to be encouraged to experess their opinions and experiences related to these issues. If the media has an element of humour or something that the students can relate to, it is far more effective as a resource.




Another key issue that should be discussed in class is the links between topics like society and work. A good angle to discuss this could be millennials (people born 1985 – present) and employment. You can discuss the influence of social media, parenting, patience and also self confidence. This topic includes many aspects, such as depression, suicide and self fulfillment.


Millennials and employment:


Discussion questions:

  1. Are millennials at a disadvantage in today´s temperamental economic climate?
  2. Are failed teaching strategies the cause of people´s sense of entitlement?
  3. Is it a good idea to award mediocrity?
  4. Is it common for people to use social media to create a false image of a successful life?
  5. How far are new technologies to blame for the lack of self esteem amongst millennials?
  6. Should there be an age restriction for the use of social media or cell phones?
  7. What strategies can parents use to develop a teenager´s self esteem during adolescence?
  8. How do most young people cope with social or financial stress?
  9. How could the government better support youngsters with suicidal tendencies to cope with stress?
  10. Why is depression such a common part of today´s society?


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