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Improve your Speaking online Episode 19, Introduction:

This week we bring new current topics in Episode 19 so you can improve your online speaking from home.


Topic 1: AI

Artificial Intelligence on the schools of tomorrow

The impact of Artificial Intelligence on the schools of the future.


What is Artificial Intelligence?


By artificial intelligence, we mean technology that is aware of its environment and carries out tasks in a way that maximizes its chances of success. These tasks typically involve planning, researching, language processing and facial recognition.

AI research started as early as 1956, but today it seems more relevant than ever. From Siri and Alexa to the most recent Google AI, who can make a phone call for you, we live in a world that is destined to become more and more shaped by artificial intelligence. But what role could AI have in the future of our education?

AI in everyday life


While things like smart homes and self-driving cars still seem far in the future and only available to a small percentage of people, the impact of AI in everyday life is so pervasive that we often don’t even realize we are interacting with it.

Video games with characters that react and adapt to the way the user plays are an example of AI that is overlooked and almost taken for granted, just like purchase predictions that show you products before you need them, or movie recommendations on Netflix. Similar technologies are used by banks when they monitor for fraud. Many websites use AI for their customer support, while others go as far as having them write simple news stories.

In fact, according to Wired, Yahoo, Fox, and the Associated Press all use Artificial Intelligence to create content. Sure, AI can’t replace an investigative journalist, but it can easily take care of sports recaps.

AI in the classroom


But where is AI in our schools? And what can it do to change education going forward?

Today the conversation on the role of AI in schools is active on platforms like Brainly, a social network where students come together to collaborate.

Companies like CTI are creating custom textbook to address the different needs students have and allowing teachers to abandon the one-size-fits-all method.

AI is already improving traditional teaching methods by enhancing their best aspects and correcting their flaws. While teachers struggle to manage their time, AI can be available for students 24/7, encouraging remote learning. It can even take care of many tedious administrative tasks allowing teachers more time to focus on their students.

AI for students with a disability


AI has already proven to be a great resource for students with learning disabilities, and its impact on their education will only improve going forward. In fact, new systems are being developed to be able to diagnose learning disabilities through better testing methods. Once the problem has been identified, AI can start customizing the student’s learning process to cater to their specific needs. This can include simplifying the structure of some sentences or replacing words that can be challenging to read or pronounce. AI can also provide students who are struggling with constant feedback, without slowing down the rest of the class, and provide teachers with reliable updates on their progress.

The future of AI in education


It is apparent by now that AI is destined to stay, but where are we going from here?

Innovations like Augmented, Virtual and Mixed Reality will have an increasing role in providing students with a more engaging experience in the classroom. Finding the right resources at the right time will become faster and easier than it already is, and students will be able to further customize their learning experience.

AI will be able to identify the areas in which students struggle most and the right method to improve their performance.

But will AI make teachers obsolete? We don’t believe it will. While they can be a great asset to teachers, but the role of an educator goes beyond simply delivering information in an effective way.

Teachers are meant to teach students how to exist in the world, how to become successful adults through knowledge, but also social and emotional learning.

Only human beings can educate children to become great human beings in the future.

The new generations still need to learn social skills, self-awareness, and decision making. These skills could never be taught by a machine.

AI is not nearly as useful without competent teachers who know how to use it to their advantage.


We will focus the conversation on the following questions:

  1. Can you mention two current examples of AI used nowadays?
  2. Isn’t IA taking into account traditional teaching methods?
  3. Are there any advantages for teachers and students in the use of IA?
  4. Will AI make teachers obsolete?
  5. Do you know any skills that can never be taught by a machine?

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

  • To carry out: to perform, conduct.
  • Pervasive: tending to infiltrate or spread.
  • To overlook: not notice.
  • Taken for granted: undervalued, not seen as special.
  • Recap: summary of information or events.
  • One-size-fits-all: applicable to everyone.
  • Flaw: defect.
  • To cater to sth: meet demands.

Topic 2: Healing music

«The healing power of music«

The use of music for healing and medicine.


Madison, Wis. — It’s been called many things – the universal language, a great healer, even a reflection of the divine. While there’s little doubt about the power of music, research now shows us just how powerful it can be.

“Across the history of time, music has been used in all cultures for healing and medicine,” said health psychologist Shilagh Mirgain, PhD. “Every culture has found the importance of creating and listening to music. Even Hippocrates believed music was deeply intertwined with the medical arts.”

Scientific evidence suggests that music can have a profound effect on individuals – from helping improve the recovery of motor and cognitive function in stroke patients, reducing symptoms of depression in patients suffering from dementia, even helping patients undergoing surgery to experience less pain and heal faster. And, of course, it can be therapeutic.

“Music therapy is an established form of therapy to help individuals address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs,” said Mirgain. “Music helps reduce heart rate, lower blood pressure and cortisol in the body. It eases anxiety and can help improve mood.»

Music is often in the background just about anywhere we go – whether at a restaurant or the store. But Mirgain offers some tips to help use music intentionally to relax, ease stress and even boost moods:

Be aware of the sound environment

Some restaurants use music as a way of subtly encouraging people to eat faster so there is greater turnover. If you’re looking for a location to have a meeting, or even a personal discussion that could be stressful, keep in mind that noisy environments featuring lively music can actually increase stress and tension.

Use it to boost your energy

On the other hand, when you need energy levels to be up – like when exercising, cleaning or even giving a presentation – upbeat music can give you the lift you need. Consider using music when you’re getting ready in the morning as a way to get your day off on the right beat.

Improve sleep

Listening to classical or relaxing music an hour before bedtime can help create a sense of relaxation and lead to improved sleep.

Calm road rage

Listening to music you enjoy can help you feel less frustrated with traffic and could even make you a safer driver.

Improve your mental game

Playing an instrument can actually help your brain function better. Faster reaction times, better long-term memory, even improved alertness are just a few of the ways playing music can help. Studies have also shown that children who learn to play music do better at math and have improved language skills.

Reduce medical anxiety

Feeling stressed about an upcoming medical procedure? Consider using music to calm those jitters. Put your ear buds in and listening to your favorite tunes while sitting in the waiting room can ease anticipatory anxiety before a medical procedure, such as a dental procedure, MRI or injection. Ask your health care provider if music is available to be played in the room during certain procedures, like a colonoscopy, mammogram or even a cavity filling. Using music in these situations distracts your mind, provides a positive experience and can improve your medical outcome.


We will focus the conversation on the following questions:

  1. Can you mention any scientific evidence suggesting that music can have a profound effect on individuals?
  2. Why do some restaurants use music?
  3. Can music calm your road rage?
  4. How can learning to play an instrument help your brain function better?
  5. How would you reduce your anxiety before a medical procedure?

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

  • Healing: aiding recovery.
  • To intertwine with: be twisted together with sth.
  • To ease: to relieve.
  • Stroke: apoplexy, a cerebral haemorrhage.
  • To undergo: to experience or to be subjected to.
  • Turnover: change or movement of people, as customers, in, out, or through a place.
  • To boost: to encourage.
  • Upbeat: cheerful, optimistic.
  • Jitter: nervouness.
  • Upcoming: imminent.

Topic 3: Online teaching

Making online learning fun

How you can engage students when you are teaching online.


We will focus the conversation on the following questions:

  1. Does it produce the same effects if teachers make verbal questions for small groups as for a large class?
  2. Would it be a good idea to use software to put up polls instead? Pros and cos.
  3. Is the author a fan of using that kind of software? Why?
  4. What kind of software has the author developed?
  5. What are the results the teacher gets using his own software?

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

  • Scarce: lacking.
  • Poll: survey of opinion.
  • Off-the-cuff: improvised, in an improvised way.
  • To pose: to formulate, to ask a question.
  • Tissue: a group of cells with the same origin that serve a similar function.
  • Grip: understanding.
  • To assess: to evaluate.

Topic 4: Deforestation

Deforestation: killing life

We need trees for a variety of reasons.


As the world seeks to slow the pace of climate change, preserve wildlife, and support billions of people, trees inevitably hold a major part of the answer. Yet the mass destruction of trees—deforestation—continues, sacrificing the long-term benefits of standing trees for short-term gain.

Forests still cover about 30 percent of the world’s land area, but they are disappearing at an alarming rate. Since 1990, the world has lost 420 million hectares or about a billion acres of forest, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations—mainly in Africa and South America. About 17 percent of the Amazonian rainforest has been destroyed over the past 50 years, and losses recently have been on the rise. The organization Amazon Conservation reports that destruction rose by 21 percent in 2020, a loss the size of Israel.

We need trees for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that they absorb not only the carbon dioxide that we exhale, but also the heat-trapping greenhouse gases that human activities emit. As those gases enter the atmosphere, global warming increases, a trend scientists now prefer to call climate change. Tropical tree cover alone can provide 23 percent of the climate mitigation needed over the next decade to meet goals set in the Paris Agreement in 2015, according to one estimate.

Causes of deforestation


Farming, grazing of livestock, mining, and drilling combined account for more than half of all deforestation. Forestry practices, wildfires and, in small part, urbanization account for the rest. In Malaysia and Indonesia, forests are cut down to make way for producing palm oil, which can be found in everything from shampoo to saltines. In the Amazon, cattle ranching and farms—particularly soy plantations—are key culprits.

Logging operations, which provide the world’s wood and paper products, also fell countless trees each year. Loggers, some of them acting illegally, also build roads to access more and more remote forests—which leads to further deforestation. Forests are also cut as a result of growing urban sprawl as land is developed for homes.

Not all deforestation is intentional. Some is caused by a combination of human and natural factors like wildfires and overgrazing, which may prevent the growth of young trees.

Why it matters and what can be done


Deforestation affects the people and animals where trees are cut, as well as the wider world. Some 250 million people living in forest and savannah areas depend on them for subsistence and income—many of them among the world’s rural poor. Eighty percent of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests, and deforestation threatens species including the orangutan, Sumatran tiger, and many species of birds. Removing trees deprives the forest of portions of its canopy, which blocks the sun’s rays during the day and retains heat at night. That disruption leads to more extreme temperature swings that can be harmful to plants and animals.

Yet the effects of deforestation reach much farther. The South American rainforest, for example, influences regional and perhaps even global water cycles, and it’s key to the water supply in Brazilian cities and neighboring countries. The Amazon actually helps furnish water to some of the soy farmers and beef ranchers who are clearing the forest. The loss of clean water and biodiversity from all forests could have many other effects we can’t foresee, touching even your morning cup of coffee.

In terms of climate change, cutting trees both adds carbon dioxide to the air and removes the ability to absorb existing carbon dioxide. If tropical deforestation were a country, according to the World Resources Institute, it would rank third in carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions, behind China and the U.S.

The numbers are grim, but many conservationists see reasons for hope. A movement is under way to preserve existing forest ecosystems and restore lost tree cover. Organizations and activists are working to fight illegal mining and logging—National Geographic Explorer Topher White, for example, has come up with a way to use recycled cell phones to monitor for chainsaws. In Tanzania, the residents of Kokota have planted more than 2 million trees on their small island over a decade, aiming to repair previous damage. And in Brazil, conservationists are rallying in the face of ominous signals that the government may roll back forest protections.

For consumers, it makes sense to examine the products and meats you buy, looking for sustainably produced sources when you can. Nonprofit groups such as the Forest Stewardship Council and the Rainforest Alliance certify products they consider sustainable, while the World Wildlife Fund has a palm oil scorecard for consumer brands.


We will focus the conversation on the following questions:

  1. Can you give a definition of deforestation?
  2. Why do we need trees?
  3. What are the main causes of deforestation?
  4. Do conservationists have reasons for hope?
  5. What is the relationship between deforestation and the South American rainforest?

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

  • Pace: speed.
  • On the rice: increasing, improving.
  • Greenhouse gases: gases producing glogal warming.
  • Farming: agriculture.
  • Grazing: animal: eating grass.
  • Livestock: farm animals.
  • Mining: the process or business of working mines.
  • Drilling: the action of making a hole in something by boring with a drill.
  • To account for: to explain.
  • Saltine: savoury cracker.
  • Soy: Asian bean.
  • Culprit: causing a problem.
  • Cattle ranching: the activity or business of breeding cattle on a ranch.
  • Logging: business of harvesting timber or wood.
  • Logger: lumberjack, woodcutter.
  • Urban sprawl: uncontrolled spread of a city.
  • Grim: bleak, joyless.
  • Chainsaw: motorized cutting tool.

Topic 5: Passive smoking

«Suffering as a passive smoking»

The dangers of passive smoking.


Second-hand smoke (SHS) also called environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is a mixture of 2 forms of smoke viz Mainstream smoke and Sidestream smoke that comes from burning tobacco. Mainstream smoke is smoke exhaled by a smoker while sidestream smoke is the smoke that arises from the lighted end of a cigarette, pipe or cigar or tobacco burning in a hookah. As compared to Mainstream smoke, sidestream smoke has higher concentrations of cancer-causing agents (carcinogens) and is more toxic. The particles are smaller in size making them easy to enter into the lungs and the body cells.

What is Passive Smoking?

Involuntary smoking or passive smoking is when non-smokers are exposed to SHS taking in the same amount of nicotine and toxic chemicals as smokers. The more SHS you breathe, the higher the levels of these harmful chemicals in your body.

Second-hand smoke can be very harmful. With more than 7000 toxic chemicals Second-hand smoke is known to cause cancer in non-smokers. It also affects the heart and blood vessels, by increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Some studies have linked Second-hand Smoke to mental and emotional changes, too. Some studies have shown that exposure to Second-hand Smoke is linked to symptoms of depression. Children are at a higher risk of exposure to second-hand smoke, most of which comes from parents and other adults smoking at home. These children tend to get sick more often, are at a higher risk of developing lung infections (like bronchitis and pneumonia) and are more likely to have recurrent episodes of cough, wheezing and shortness of breath. Second-hand smoke is also known to trigger asthma episodes, along with the worsening of symptoms as well as cause new cases of asthma in children who previously didn’t have any symptoms. All these problems may seem small at first, but one cannot neglect with bigger ones associated with them. These would include the expenses incurred, the trips to the doctors, medicines, lost school time, parents having to stay back home to care for their sick child, let alone the discomfort the child has to go through.

Passive Smoking can affect Non-Smokers either at their workplace, in public places or at their homes.

At work:

Most adults are exposed to Second-hand smoke at their workplace. Cleaning the air and ventilating the building still falls short in preventing exposure to Second-hand smoke if people continue to smoke in the building. There should be workplace smoking restrictions.

In public places:

When smoking is allowed in public places like restaurants, shopping malls, public transport, parks and schools everyone is at risk of exposure to Second-hand smoke. This is of special concern especially when it comes to children.

At home:

We spend most of our time at home. Making our home smoke free will protect our family, our guests and even our pets. Because of Second-hand smoke, any family member could develop health problems, children being especially sensitive to the toxins present in the smoke.  Ventilation, air cleaning or separating smokers from non-smokers will not control the problem of Second-hand Smoke.

Lingering Smoking odours

Particles from second-hand tobacco smoke can settle in dust and on surfaces and remain there long after the smoke is gone. These particles can combine with gases, for example, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the air to form cancer-causing compounds that settle onto surfaces. These compounds may be stirred up and inhaled with other house dust and may also be accidentally taken in through the mouth.

How can you avoid second-hand smoke?

The following suggestions may help in reducing, or even eliminating, you and your family’s exposure to second-hand smoke:

  • Politely ask your guests to smoke outside your house.
  • Ventilate rooms in your home and work by keeping open windows and using the fan.
  • Avoid keeping ashtrays in your home.
  • Instruct babysitters and other caregivers not to smoke around your children, even if it is in their own home.
  • When visiting a smoker’s home with your children, try socializing outside whenever possible.
  • For those of you working in a place that allows smoking, talk to your employer about modifying the company’s smoking policy. Encourage them to support a program to help their employees quit!
  • If possible, ask to work near other non-smokers.
  • Choose a non-smoking room, when staying in a hotel.
  • Keep yourself updated on any changes in federal, state and local smoking laws and become involved in strengthening those laws.

We will focus the conversation on the following questions:

  1. Can you define a Second-hand Smoke?
  2. When does passive smoking happen?
  3. What damage can be produced by second-hand smoke?
  4. Where can we be exposed to second-hand smoke?
  5. Can you mention three suggestions that may help in reducing the exposition of second-hand smoke?

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

  • Blood vessel: vein, artery or capillary.
  • Stroke: a loss of blood flow to part of the brain.
  • Lung: One of a pair of organs in the chest that supplies the body with oxygen.
  • To trigger: to provoke.
  • Caregiver: caretaker for elderly, disabled, etc.
  • To quit: to stop doing, to give up (habit).
  • Strengthening: making stronger.

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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