Free Discussion Lessons About the News

The Economist Educational Foundation’s Topical Talk discussions build the essential skills students need in order to engage with the world. Topical Talk provides free teaching resources for weekly classroom discussions about current affairs. The ready-to-use lessons are created by expert teachers in collaboration with world-leading journalists and fact-checkers from The Economist newspaper. Recent lesson topics include “Women in Media,” “Taylor Swift: pop stars and influence,” and “AI: education and the future of work.”

Topical Talk lessons support students in developing the four critical thinking and communication skills from the Skills Builder Universal Framework developed by the Essential Skills Taskforce: problem solving, creativity, speaking, and listening. These skills are essential for success at school and beyond, and are supported by more than ten years of evidence-backed research.

Topical Talk has four types of resources—Headlines, Special Editions, Spotlights, and Topical Talk Toolkit. Each resource presents activities that help students practice their speaking, listening, problem-solving, and creative-thinking skills, as well as opportunities to reflect on their progress.

The skills break down into 16 steps, which are grouped into four stages: getting started, intermediate, advanced, and mastery. Each lesson focuses on one of these stages.

To measure students’ progress, teachers can use the Topical Talk Skills assessment tracker at the start and end of a series of Topical Talk lessons.

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