Quality Conversations Matter The art of conversation, once considered the sign of a civilized individual, seems less common today. Yet we count the pleasures of sharing experiences, collecting news, and exchanging ideas one of the pleasures of life. These natural conversations provide information, encouragement, and pleasure. Many people say that they are too busy to have long talks. Other people prefer to watch television, play computer games, or listen to the radio rather than talk to relatives and friends. Sometimes people feel too shy to speak to the people next to them. Many Americans, it seems to us, have forgotten how to hold good, deep conversations, or even a friendly chat with neighbors. we suspect this lack of real communication lessens their joy. Barriers to Conversation in English Classrooms Of course, people learning English as a second, third, or fourth language face even more barriers. English remains a strange, confusing, difficult, and misspelled language - and it's easy to feel uncomfortable when speaking in this new tongue. ? What questions can I ask? ? How do keep a conversation going? ? What is the word for ??? What vocabulary words do I need? ? How do show my agreement, or disagreement, in a lively, yet polite way? ? How can I share my experiences with a limited vocabulary? ? Will I be understood? ? How else can I ask a question? ? How can I reduce the possibility of being misunderstood? ? How can I have better and more engaging conversations in English? ? Where can I practice my speaking skills in a safe, tolerant atmosphere? Creating Meaningful Classroom Dialogue Compelling Conversations: Questions and Quotations on Timeless Topics addresses these issues for both native and non-native English speakers. The focus is on learning by doing, and making good mistakes. (Good mistakes are mistakes that are natural, and we can learn from so we can make different and better "good mistakes" next time.