Controversial topics make many teachers want to run away from the curriculum screaming, but for ESL teachers they offer an unequalled opportunity to foster discussion in the classroom. Though you may feel queasy at the idea of teaching some topics, use the following strategies to make it a teaching triumph rather than a classroom catastrophe. Before giving students any materials supporting one side or the other about a controversial topic, ask them what they already know about it. This is only the first of many opportunities for discussion in your class. If you are teaching adults , you may be surprised at the experience your students may already have with a given issue.