How to discuss a topic in a group

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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.