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Improve your Speaking online Episode 18, Introduction:

This week we bring new current topics in Episode 18 so you can improve your online speaking from home.


Topic 1: Kindness

The importance of kindness

Why is kindness importance to others and to ourselves?


The importance of kindness

World Kindness Day is the perfect opportunity to pause and reflect on what we mean when we talk about kindness. This small, simple word that we all know and use without thinking, carries such a weight of meaning. And yet, how often do we really stop to consider what we are really talking about when we use it? What is it? Who does it apply to? How do we know when we, or someone else, has been ‘kind’?


What is kindness?

My old 2001 Oxford Dictionary of English defines kindness as ‘the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate’. Interestingly, the ‘and’  indicates that all three of those conditions are required for kindness to be present. So, one can be friendly and yet not kind, or both generous and considerate but not kind. Perhaps it’s when we become aware of all three conditions being present that we feel for ourselves the pleasure of real kindness.

In my work as a therapist I often come across two distinct ways in which kindness manifests itself. Firstly, and perhaps most frequently, in showing kindness to others. Secondly, and much less consistently, in showing kindness to ourselves.


Why is kindness important?

When we practice kindness either to other people or towards ourselves we can experience positive mental and physical changes through lowering stress levels and increasing the body’s production of feel-good hormones such as dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin. Being kind helps boost the immune system, reduce blood pressure and reduce stress and anxiety.

The great thing is that it isn’t difficult to be kind. As the Dalai Lama said, ‘Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible’.


How do we show kindness to others?

Showing kindness to others does not have to mean doing something big or life changing. Often it’s the smallest acts of kindness that can have the most impact. A moment of support in a time of need, a quiet word of encouragement, a helping hand to carry a heavy load, or just a smile that says ‘I see you’ can make a world of difference. Whatever the act itself, it’ll be underpinned by four principles:

Awareness – we must be aware of the opportunity to be kind. We can’t recognise the need if we are completely absorbed in our thoughts, our own world, or our on-line alter egos.

Non-judgment – we must be prepared to suspend judgment if we want to be truly kind. It’s not for us to judge the good or bad, right or wrong of another person’s situation. It’s only for us to recognise there is an opportunity for us to be kind.

Action – we must act in a friendly, generous and considerate manner to the person in front of us. Awareness without action can’t be kind.

Unconditional – being kind means offering kindness without conditions or expectation of reward. The real reward for a kindness is in the inner positivity, rather than any external reward or recognition.


Being kind to yourself

Being kind to yourself is not just a nice idea, it’s an essential form of self care and a vital foundation for sustained kindness to others. Remember those aircraft safety briefings that stress the importance of putting on your own oxygen mask before helping others? Well, kindness to yourself is a bit like that.

Often when I’m working with people, it quickly becomes apparent that they’re so strongly committed to taking care of everyone and everything around them that they’ve forgotten to take care of themselves. They’re going through life trying so hard to look after others, all the while not realising they don’t have their own oxygen mask on. Eventually they reach breaking point and end up sitting in front of me.

Here are just a few simple ways in which you can show yourself a bit of kindness today and every day.


Being kind to yourself starts by building your self-awareness, listening to your internal voice with a sense of curiosity. What are you telling yourself, how often are you being negative or hard on yourself? How infrequently are you praising yourself, recognising all the things you are so good at? Consciously recognise all the positive things about yourself.


Be generous with yourself and do things just for you. Give yourself time, disconnect from technology for a few hours and get out into nature. So many people unhesitatingly give themselves to other people and yet find it very difficult to be as generous to themselves.

Avoid comparison

Beware the danger of comparisons. We live in a world of TV, advertising, social media that constantly shows us how we are not yet living the perfect life, how we don’t measure up to other people. Don’t fall into the comparison trap because this is one route to lots of negative self-talk and critique. The very opposite of kindness, in fact.


If you’re an introvert, as apparently 70% of us are, remember that after working or socialising with other people, after giving yourself to others, you’ll need quiet time alone to rest and recharge. This isn’t selfish, it’s necessary. And doing so means you are being friendly, generous, and considerate to yourself.

So, on World Kindness Day make a point of showing yourself, and those around you, some kindness. You’ll feel better for it.


We will focus the conversation on the following questions:

  1. Which are the three conditions required to be present in kindness?
  2. Can you give three examples of small acts showing kindness to others?  
  3. Which are the four principles that should underpin an act of kindness?
  4. Can you mention four ways in which you should show kindnes to yourself?
  5. When is World Kindness Day?

Here we leave you some vocabulary you can use during the talk: 

  • To boost: to encourage, to help
  • To underpin: to support
  • Praising yourself: congratulating yourself
  • briefings: instructions
  • Dominate: have power and influence over.
  • All the while: at the same time, meanwhile
  • Unhesitatingly: no hesitation, without pausing
  • Self-talk: affirmations
  • To measure up to: to be equal to
  • selfish: caring for oneself only, egoistic

Topic 2: Recycling food waste

«How to recycle food waste»

The relevance to recycle food waste and how to do it.


We will focus the conversation on the following questions:

  1. What can happen if we don’t recycle food waste and it’s sent to landfill?
  2. Is it an efficient method to incinerate food waste? Why??
  3. If we shred and compost food waste with garden waste, which method of recycling is being using?
  4. Can you mention two uses of food waste recycled?
  5. Which are the main applications of the methane generated by anaerobic digestion?

Here we leave you some vocabulary you can use during the talk:

  • Waste: unused.
  • Wheelie bin: refuse bin on wheels.
  • Greenhouse gas: global warming gas.
  • Landfill: site for burying waste.
  • Disposal: waste removal.
  • To shred: to tear fabric/paper into strips.
  • Manure: animal waste.
  • Slurry: fine sludge.
  • To give off: to emite
  • To break down: to disintegrate.

Topic 3: Sign language

«Sign language at schools«

The necessity of teaching sign language at schools

given: obvious fact 

We will focus the conversation on the following questions:

  1. How many people use sign language worlwide?
  2. If sign language were offered at schools, what would be the direct benefit for hearing impaired students?
  3. Would it have any positive impact on some jobs to employ workers speaking sign language?
  4. Teaching sign language at school would only be useful for hearing impaired students. Do you agree?
  5. Why is sign language a unique skill to have on resumes?

Here we leave you some vocabulary you can use during the talk:

  • Peer: friend, colleague.
  • Hearing impaired: partially deaf.
  • Resume: CV: summary of work experience
  • Asset: advantage, resource
  • To look over: examine critically.
  • Given: obvious fact.
  • To reach out: try to communicate.
  • Unique: exclusively characteristic

Topic 4: Technology

«Negative effects of technology»

Psychological and physical health issues caused by the use of technology

Cto wind down: to relax 

We will focus the conversation on the following questions:

  1. Can you name three adverse psychological effects produced by the overuse of technology?
  2. How can you reduce the likelihood of eyestrain?
  3. What does the 20-20-20 rule mean?
  4. Are there any alternatives to the use of technology too close to bedtime?
  5. What are the negative physical effects caused by the use of sedentary digital technologies?

Here we leave you some vocabulary you can use during the talk: 

  • To bring together: to unite, to connect sb.
  • Handheld: small, compact.
  • Eyestrain: tired eye muscles
  • Blurred: unclear
  • Hunched forward: bent over forward
  • To wind down: to relax
  • Hurricane: a storm that comes along with a violent wind.
  • Core: muscles of torso, abdomen.

Topic 5: Learning fun

«Five ways to make learning fun»

The importance of keeping learning fun and practicable ways of doing

We will focus the conversation on the following questions:

  1. Is offering choices a method for kids to get out of doing work?
  2. Is it necessary to use complex games to make learning fun?
  3. As a teacher, would you take into account your students’ interests?
  4. What is better: to structure lessons in the same way for all students or to break down lessons or accordingly their attention span?
  5. Theoretical or practical lessons. What is your choice to keep students engaged in a lesson?

Here we leave you some vocabulary you can use during the talk:

  • hoocked: on hobby, etc.: keen on
  • outcome: result
  • to tap into: to gain useful access to
  • to get out of: to free yourself from an obligation
  • rote: routine
  • drill: exercise
  • once in a while: occasionally
  • Span: capacity.
  • jumping jack: exercise movement
  • to break down: to analise
  • at hand: imminent, nearby


Topic 6: Free topic

Do you find these topics boring or uninteresting? Don’t worry. Dilo gives you the opportunity to choose your own topic for a conversation class.
Think of some vocabulary you would like to learn related to your topic and send us some information about it with the subject «Free topic». We are sure your ideas will be very good 😁
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