ESL History Discussion Questions

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

History is a topic that goes beyond knowledge about past facts. It includes how those facts affects us in the present day, and this is why ESL students can have interesting discussions based on this premise.

History and Today

To begin, tell your students that they are going to use their knowledge of history. Ask them how they like their past or current history classes. Very often, among adult ESL students, one finds a student who did not finish primary or secondary school. If this is the case, ask them to think about historical facts that are important in their country. Also, if you begin with your own personal experience with history classes, your students feel encouraged to speak. You can say something like, 'I loved my world history classes, especially when my teacher told me about the second world war because this taught me the value of peace.'

Next, it's a good idea to ask your students to think for a moment about a historical fact and how that affects people nowadays. Similar to the first part of the lesson, you could say something like: 'A very important historical fact in the US is the writing of the Constitution. This affects people today in a positive way because the Constitution contains the basic rights of citizens.'

With this introduction, your students should be ready to answer the questions below. Each question has a sample answer that you may or not give to your students. It all depends on the class level.

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