Issues and Answers: A Competency-Based Listening/Speaking Book offers two kinds of listening material: a simulated "media segment'' in a commonly presented format (talk show, soap opera, lecture, debate, interview, comedy, etc.), and short excerpts from conversations or other practical "aural realia" from which students are to make inferences and/or to perform specific "listening tasks."
The vocabulary lessons practice the use of idioms. Besides providing for discussion of the issues, the speaking sections in the text review the more sophisticated notions and functions, such as making generalizations, giving supporting evidence, adding emphasis, getting a point across, and showing degrees of certainty, while focusing on register and the subtleties of language (formal vs. informal language, politely disagreeing, using tact, etc.). The large number of conversation activities, some closely coordinated with the listening segments, vary widely-from making small talk t.o comparing cultural norms, from discussing facts to making group decisions in "value clarification" activities, from giving advice to role-playing courtroom cases.