Taboos can bring up some interesting problems in an English conversation class. One of the major complaints that teachers have with ready-made materials is that there is a strong tendency to play it safe and avoid the typical topics we actually talk about in everyday settings. There is a good reason for this: certain issues will be more controversial for our learners than they are for us. This can lead to friction, anger and embarrassment in the classroom and can also do irreparable damage to the classroom dynamic. As new teachers, it is natural to be hesitant when broaching ‘dangerous’ topics in class. However, more experienced teachers are able to recognize the motivational value of subjects which better reflect real world issues.
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