ESL conversation starters and discussion topics for adults (2023)

Do you want to stimulate discussion in your ESL/EFL courses? I didn't imagine. Then you should check out my top conversation questions to get started. Read on for all the details.ConversationSnacks for adults! If you're a language teacher, it's a kind of list of ESL conversation topics you can't miss.

ESL conversation starters and discussion topics for adults (1)

ESL conversation questions and conversation starters for adults

Let's dive into the best ESL conversation topics you might want to try in your courses.

Adult Conversation Starters: Top 25

If you are looking for something quickESL heatingor perhaps a more in-depth discussion, check out these 10 perfect adult conversation starters for your ESL language classes. They are suitable for students in almost all countries.

If you want to kick off your ESL classes in style, with students chatting, sharing ideas, and having fun, consider these conversation starters for adults. Have fun!

#1: If I won the lottery

This is probably my favorite ESL conversation topic. Ask students to describe what they would do or buy if they won the lottery. I usually say an amount of $1,000,000. That's enough to make you do almost anything you want, but it's not unreasonable: it forces students to prioritize.

How students answer this question reveals a lot about them!

#2 ESL Conversation Question: Bucket List

Students should think of five things they want to do before they die. You can provide a few examples to get them started, but most people are pretty familiar with this concept.

This is a good question to find out what students value most in life. It can also be a good warm-up for a session on the go.

#3: Guilty Pleasures

This is one of the most interesting ESL conversation questions for adults.

Explain to students what a guilty pleasure is; You probably don't know the term in English. Then it's confession time!

I love this question because students often mention a crappy TV show they watch. And I usually confess that I watch Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

#4: Things You've Learned Lately

Ask students to think of two or three things they could not do as children but can do now. Emphasize that it's related to some skill or you'll just get answers like drinking or smoking. This is one of the best ESL conversation topics for adults.

Top 5 Intermediate ESL Conversation Games & Activities | TEFL Ideas for Higher Level English Learners

#5: Last purchase

Ask students to talk about the last thing they bought that cost more than $100. This is one of the more interesting ESL conversation questions.

#6: You are the president

Ask your students to talk about what their top three priorities would be if they were the president of their country. It's one of the best ESL conversation questions for teens or adults.

#7: ESL Conversation Question About Favorite Things

Students submit questions using the What's your favorite _____ launcher? Collect the papers, choose the top three, and then have the students answer them. Or you could give each small group some papers and they could discuss different things.

Even More ESL Talking Points

Interested in exploring more ESL conversation topics? Then you must watch this video below:

Top 5 ESL Conversation Starters | TEFL Talk and Debate Topics for Teens and Adults

#8: Horoscope

Find some daily or monthly horoscopes online. Students read their descriptions and check that they match. It's really funny because horoscopes are very open to different interpretations.

#9: People in your life

Which three people do you spend the most time with these days? What qualities do you value in each person?

(Video) Top 5 ESL Conversation Starters | TEFL Conversation and Discussion Topics for Teenagers and Adults

ESL conversation starters and discussion topics for adults (5)

ESL Convo-Themes

#10: The best decision

Students think about a difficult decision they made, but are confident they made the right decision.

Nº 11: Dream Vacation

If students had $10,000 (or the equivalent in your local currency) and a long absence from work, where would they go?

#12: 100 days remaining

You just went to the doctor and found out you have a rare disease. You only have 100 days left, so how would you spend that time?

ESL conversation starters and discussion topics for adults (6)

ESL Adult Conversation Starters

Nº 13: 5 Similarities

Students must go with a partner and then find five things they have in common. Things like favorite food, sports they like, favorite day of the week, native language, family life, etc. Encourage students to find things that aren't obvious, such as: B. You're in the same class or something. You live in ABC City.

#14: What Can You Cook?

There is afood you can cookvery good and your family or friends like to eat? It could even be something very simple.

Do you have any advice for someone who would like to do the same?

#15: What would you like to learn?

If you had 10 free hours a week and could learn 1 new skill, what would it be and why?

Nº 16: Dream Job

What is your ideal job? Why? This is one of the most interesting ESL conversation questions for high school or college students.

ESL conversation starters and discussion topics for adults (7)

39 No Prep/Low Prep ESL Conversation Activities: For Teen and Adult English Teachers Who...

  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Bolen, Jackie (Author)
  • English (publication language)
  • 94 pages - 05/30/2015 (date of publication)

Nº 17: If school was free...

If college was free and you were paid a base salary to attend, would you stop being a student? Why or why not? Or would you get a job?

#18: Movies, books and TV shows

How do you spend your time watching or reading them? What's your favorite movie or what's the next one you'd like to see?

Nº 19: Maus Habits

If you could easily change one of your personal habits, what would it be? Sleep until it's late? To smoke? Do you not exercise enough? eat french fries? How do you feel about it? Do you want to change or don't you care?

(Video) 50 ESL Conversation Questions - English Speaking Practice

when you want to concentratesuperlative adjectives, you can change the question to "What is your worst habit?" And your best?

Habits are one of the best conversation topics for adults.

#20: Best ESL Holiday Convo Theme

Students can talk about the best vacation they've ever had. You can mention things like food,wetter, activities, etc. I usually start by quickly telling students about a recent vacation I took.

ESL conversation starters and discussion topics for adults (8)

adult conversation starter

#21: Family ESL

A classic topic of conversation for adults isfamily🇧🇷 After all, most people grow out of one and have a new one later in life. Because of that, there are so many things to discuss. And of course everyone has an opinion on how they should look!

#22: Christmas (or equivalent holiday)

Everyone has ideas about what are the best traditions andchristmas activities, or which holiday is the most popular in the country where you teach. This can lead to interesting discussions about things like values, family and consumption.

#23: How to Carelessly Spend $1,000

This is a fun ESL talk where anyone can say how they would spend $500 on the requirement that this be done lightly. That is, it cannot be used to invest, pay bills, etc. Give some examples of how someone might be traveling while someone else is shopping.

#24: Favorite season

Everyone has a favorite (and a dislike)season🇧🇷 Students can talk about whether they like spring, summer, fall or winter better and give some reasons why they don't like it and why.

#25: Future Predictions ESL Conversation Topic

Make some predictions about the future.It's a fun conversation starter for adults. I usually relate this to the topic of the day, such as extreme weather, politics, sporting events, pop culture, etc. It is definitely one of my favorite ESL convo topics and students generally find this unit very interesting.

ESL conversation starters and discussion topics for adults (9)

ESL Convo-Themes

How about starting discussions for children?

Some of these questions, like things like what would you do if you were president or your dream vacation, are great for kids. However, some of them are obviously not a guilty pleasure!

If you are teaching children, check out this list made especially for them:Conversation starters for kids.

What about ESL talking points based on a grammar point?

Maybe you've had this experience before? They teach you about a specific grammatical point, such astermsogerunds and infinitivesand you tell students to ask themselves questions using that specific grammar. Total silence!

Of course, students are not to blame. It's because they haven't been given enough information to work with. Instead, give them some ESL talking points and you'll likely get better results.

It's totally fine to use conversation questions at a specific point in the grammar rather than organizing them by topic like you would with a vocabulary lesson.

Need more ideas for ESL Convo topics?

If you liked these ESL conversation starters for adults, you'll love them!Lesson plan ideas, ESL activities and games, and more, delivered straight to your inbox every few days. I promise to respect your privacy and never give out your email address to third parties for any reason.

There are ESL games, activities, talking points and questions, and many more ESL lessons.

How about some ESL talking points for adults? top 25

If you're looking for some discussion topics for your adult classroom that are sure to be a hit, check out some of these top ideas that will work with almost any student in any country. Of course, be sure to adapt the topic to your students' level by adapting the activities, questions, listening or reading passages you use.

Here are some of the best discussion topics for adults:

  • hobbies
  • time and how people spend it
  • A perfect first date
  • Music
  • Movie
  • last book you read
  • Essen
  • favorite restaurant
  • adoption
  • aging society
  • Provide advice for some common issues.
  • challenges in society
  • Anything in the news or current events
  • Clone
  • eletric cars
  • Renewable energy
  • Family values ​​(more ideas here:ESL family activities)
  • get a job
  • unemployment
  • immigration

If you're looking to add a little more organization to your life, check out these options:cart for teachers.

ESL conversation starters and discussion topics for adults (10)

ESL Adult Conversation Starters

(Video) ESL Conversation Activities for Adults | ESL Conversation Lesson Plans Ideas

Frequently Asked Questions about ESL Talks and Discussions

There are a number of common questions people have about ESL talking points. Here are answers to some of the most popular ones.

How is ESL conversation taught to adults?

There are a number of steps you can take to teach adult ESL conversation. Some of them include the following:

  • Focus on communication over accuracy.
  • Make the lesson as student-centered as possible (reduce teacher intervention time).
  • Use pair and small group work as much as possible.
  • change partners frequently.
  • Use a variety of interesting and engaging activities and games.
  • Teach vocabulary and review important grammar concepts.
  • Track bugs and provide kind feedback.
  • Of course, make sure you choose interesting things to talk about.

How to teach ESL conversation for beginners?

Here are some tips for teaching ESL conversation to beginners:

  • Keep it as simple as possible.
  • Be sure to check for understanding using the Check-of-Concept Questions (CCQs).
  • Plan plenty of practice time in class.
  • Work hard in pairs and small groups and change partners often.
  • Try to reduce the teacher's speaking time as much as possible.
  • Use a variety of student-centered ESL conversation activities.
  • Use responsive ESL convo themes

What are some of the best ESL talking points?

The best ESL conversation topics are those that most students in the class have personal experience with and are interested in. Things like daily plans, hopes for the future, food, movies, hobbies, work or school life, and current events are ideal for ESL Convo topics.

How can I teach ESL conversation?

Teaching ESL Speaking: Lesson Plans, Tips & Tricks for English Teachers | Let's talk about the TEFL podcast

Did you like these ESL talking points?

ESL conversation starters and discussion topics for adults (11)

67 ESL Conversation Topics with Questions, Vocabulary, Writing Instructions & More: For Teachers of English...

  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Bolen, Jackie (Author)
  • English (publication language)
  • 278 pages - 12/07/2020 (date of publication)

Yea? I didn't imagine. Then you'll love this book on Amazon:67 ESL conversation topics with questions, vocabulary, writing instructions and more🇧🇷 If you are teaching speech and conversation classes to teens or adults, this is the book for you! There are 67 pre-built lesson plans that will save you a lot of time.

You can find the book in digital and print formats. It's easier than ever to organize great discussion courses around these engaging topics from ESL Convo, along with everything you need to deliver an engaging class.

Check the book out for yourself, but only if you're looking to bring some serious ESL teaching into your life:

ESL conversation starters and discussion topics for adults (12)

Say something about ESL conversation topics for adults

How do you use ESL to get your students talking in your classes?conversationMatters? Are you using one of those ESL talking points or something else? What are some of the best ESL conversation questions? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We would love to hear from you.

Be sure to share this on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest too. This will help other busy teachers like you to find this teaching resource useful.

Last Updated 10/15/2022 / Affiliate Links / Amazon Product Advertising API Images


What are some good discussion topics for adults? ›

General Conversation Starters
  • What's the most interesting thing you've read lately?
  • What's a fact about you that's not on the internet?
  • Do you listen to any podcasts? ...
  • If you were in charge of the playlist, which song would you play next?
  • What's the best gift you've ever gotten?
Jul 18, 2022

What are some fun ESL questions for beginners? ›

Beginner ESL Conversation Starters

Hobbies – What are your favorite hobbies? Food – If you can eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Family – Tell me about your family. Sports and music – Do you prefer to play sports or listen to music?

How do you teach ESL conversations to adults? ›

How to teach conversational English online
  1. Prepare lists of questions. ...
  2. Answer your own questions. ...
  3. Talk slowly, but don't treat them like they're a kid. ...
  4. Have topics that are common, but ask for the student's opinion. ...
  5. Let silence hang, but know when to prompt. ...
  6. Use the chat box or a white board to spell things out. ...
  7. Take notes.
Feb 2, 2021

What are some deep conversation starters? ›

Personal Questions for Deep Conversation Starters
  • What is the hardest decision you have ever had to make?
  • If you found out you had 24 hours to live, what would you do?
  • What is your biggest regret?
  • How would the people closest to you describe you as a person?
  • What is your greatest goal in life?

What are the 5 common topics? ›

The five common topics are: definition, comparison, circumstance, relationship, and authority. We start with definition. If two people can't agree on the definition of whatever they want to discuss, there's no point in moving forward with the conversation.

How do you start a mature conversation? ›

Conversation Starters for Any Situation
  1. Tell me about you. ...
  2. Working on anything exciting lately? ...
  3. What's your story? ...
  4. What personal passion project are you working on right now? ...
  5. How do you know the host? ...
  6. What was the highlight of your day today? ...
  7. What was the highlight of your week?

How can I make my discussion more fun? ›

The best discussions keep everyone active, either by sharing or thinking.
Your Weekly Eureka Moment
  1. Lightning Rounds. Just the name "lightning round" suggests energy. ...
  2. Throw the Ball. When you ask a discussion question, call on students by letting them catch a ball. ...
  3. Group Answers. ...
  4. Agreements. ...
  5. Questionnaires.
Dec 10, 2013

How do you make ESL class fun for adults? ›

18 Ideas for ESL Speaking Activities for Adults
  1. Short Talks. Create a stack of topic cards for your students, so that each student will have their own card. ...
  2. Show and Tell. ...
  3. Video Dictionary. ...
  4. PechaKucha. ...
  5. Bingo. ...
  6. Two Texts. ...
  7. Running Dictation. ...
  8. Surveys and Interviews.
May 17, 2021

How do you play 20 questions on ESL? ›

The students have to guess of what thing the person who is it is thinking by asking him or her at most 20 yes/no type questions. If no one guesses the answer after 20 tries, the answer is revealed. A "yes" answer earns the questioner another chance to ask, a "no" passes the asking on to the next player.

How do beginners teach ESL adults? ›

Here are 6 steps to teach English to beginners like a pro!
  1. Keep it simple, stupid. This is the one of the most important steps to teach English to beginners. ...
  2. Always check for understanding. ...
  3. Give them lots of time to practice. ...
  4. Show, don't tell. ...
  5. Always use positive reinforcement. ...
  6. Don't be boring.
Dec 15, 2022

What makes a good ESL teacher for adults? ›

Good ESL teachers have a balance of fun and work in the classroom, and know how to use teaching games, jokes, and fun activities to motivate, teach, and inspire.

How can ESL adults improve their vocabulary? ›

Expanding Your ESL Vocabulary - One Word at a Time
  1. Read words in context to study their meanings.
  2. Read lots.
  3. Read good writing.
  4. Be a well-informed reader – Diversity of topics is important.
  5. Make studying vocabulary an ongoing process.
  6. Activate memory of the new words.
  7. Take the time to look words up.
  8. Listen to words everywhere.

How do you spice up a conversation? ›

Here are the best 5 ways I know to do this:
  1. Find what to say in your favorite topics. We all have things we are passionate about: activities, hobbies, projects, goals, ideas or jobs. ...
  2. Ask open ended questions. ...
  3. Blurt. ...
  4. Let the other person end the silence. ...
  5. Practice, practice, practice.
Jan 18, 2011

What questions should I ask in 20 questions? ›

  • Have You Ever Dine And Dashed At A Restaurant? ...
  • Would You Rather Have Endless Money Or Endless Love? ...
  • Have You Ever Been In A Car Crash — And It Was Your Fault? ...
  • If You Could Star In A Movie, What Movie Would It Be? ...
  • What Is Your Most Frequently Used Emoji? ...
  • What Was The Last Thing You Stole Or Shoplifted?
Oct 17, 2017

What are some serious topics? ›

541 Topics for Deep Conversations:
  • What are your passions or hobbies? ...
  • What are your goals for the future?
  • What is something that has had a big impact on your life?
  • How do you like to spend your free time?
  • What is your favorite thing about yourself? ...
  • What are your biggest fears or vulnerabilities?
Jan 1, 2023

What is the key to starting a great conversation? ›

Asking a question is a great way to start a conversation. Doing this not only gives you a reason to engage the other person—but it also gives them a chance to be helpful. When using this approach, start with something simple that can be accomplished without a great deal of effort.

What to talk about when theres nothing to talk about? ›

Here is a list of things you might talk about when there is nothing to talk about:
  • Talk about this itself. ...
  • Talk about things you wish were happening. ...
  • Have a conversation with someone who is having a wildly different experience than you. ...
  • Have conversations with people who might be really struggling.
Apr 28, 2020

How do you create a meaningful discussion? ›

What to do
  1. Recognise small talk as a necessary first step. To improve your conversations, don't dismiss small talk altogether. ...
  2. Ask better questions. ...
  3. Listen to the answers. ...
  4. Be willing to share something about yourself. ...
  5. Come ready to learn. ...
  6. Be prepared to give and take.
Apr 28, 2021

What are random topics to talk about? ›

Good Conversation Starters
  • What's your favorite TV show?
  • What's your favorite movie?
  • What's your favorite book?
  • What's your favorite music genre?
  • What's your favorite band?
  • What are you doing this weekend?
  • Where did you go on vacation last year?
  • Do you like to cook or bake?

How do I find unique topics? ›

Let's get started!
  1. Tip #1: Research what your competitors are doing and how they are doing it.
  2. Tip #2: Use keyword research tools.
  3. Tip #3: Explore trends in social media.
  4. Tip #4: Discover questions your audience is asking about.
  5. Tip #5: Review old content to expand on a much bigger topic.

What are some good open-ended questions? ›

The ability to ask good open-ended questions isn't just important for building small talk with new people, but also forging stronger connections with those you're already close with.
  • How was your weekend? What did you do?
  • How was your day? What was the best part?
  • How have you been? What's been going well for you?
May 25, 2017

How do you start a non boring conversation? ›

How to make interesting conversations
  1. Ask something personal. ...
  2. Make it a mission to learn about people you meet. ...
  3. Share something slightly personal. ...
  4. Focus your attention on the conversation. ...
  5. Ask open-ended questions. ...
  6. Ask for a personal opinion. ...
  7. Show interest in the other person.
Nov 10, 2022

How do you have an intelligent conversation? ›

13 Simple Ways You Can Have More Meaningful Conversations
  1. Don't get too excited about your next thought. ...
  2. Ask good questions that show you're engaged. ...
  3. Do your homework without being creepy. ...
  4. Try to genuinely relate. ...
  5. Don't waste people's time. ...
  6. Let people sell themselves. ...
  7. Ask how you can add value. ...
  8. Do what you can to help.
Aug 18, 2013

What are 4 types of discussion? ›

The Four Types of Conversations: Debate, Dialogue, Discourse, and Diatribe. When talking with someone, it is helpful to know what type of conversation you are in. You can do so based on a conversation's direction of communication (a one-way or two-way street) and its tone/purpose (competitive or cooperative).

What makes a strong discussion? ›

In order for a discussion to be effective, students need to understand the value of actively listening to their peers, tolerating opposing viewpoints, and being open-minded. They also need to recognize the importance of staying focused and expressing themselves clearly.

What are some examples of discussion types? ›

These different types of discussions serve different purposes, are useful in different phases of a lesson or unit, and have different characteristics depending on their purpose.
  • Discussion Type Summary. Initial Ideas Discussions. ...
  • Building Understanding Discussion. Purposes/Goals. ...
  • Consensus Discussion. ...
  • Consensus Discussion.

What should I teach advanced ESL adults? ›

7 advanced ESL lesson plans that are ready-to-go
  • Tell us about your dream vacation. Skill focus: Speaking. ...
  • Get published in magazine. Skill focus: Writing. ...
  • Plan a holiday. Skill focus: Listening. ...
  • Read a travel guide. Skill focus: Reading. ...
  • Guess the word. Skill focus: Vocab. ...
  • Ask for advice. Skill focus: Functional language.
Mar 3, 2021

How can I make my ESL lessons more interactive? ›

Discover These 7 Ways to Make Your ESL Classes More Dynamic
  1. Use a Powerful Tool – Your Voice! ...
  2. Be Organized. ...
  3. Encourage Participation. ...
  4. Surprise Them! ...
  5. Move Around the Classroom. ...
  6. Try New Things. ...
  7. Give it a Structure.

How can I make teaching adults fun? ›

Here are some strategies you can use to motivate adult learners, based on their characteristics.
Allow for Choice and Self-directed Learning
  1. Provide options. ...
  2. Facilitate exploration. ...
  3. Enable testing out. ...
  4. Create active learning. ...
  5. Simulate the workplace. ...
  6. Respect the audience.

What are some non small talk questions? ›

If You Hate Small Talk, Use These 20 Questions As A Conversation Starter Instead
  • Why are you doing the work that you're doing?
  • Why do you live where you live?
  • Are you living in your dream location?
  • What are you most excited about right now and why?
  • What has been your biggest challenge this week?
Sep 17, 2018

How do you make a conversation interesting without asking questions? ›

Instead of asking random questions, let the conversation guide you, and look for cues from the other person. For example, if you notice a co-worker has a desktop background of dogs, you might say, “Oh, how cute! Are those your dogs?” Remember, you don't have to ask everything that comes to mind.

What are the two small talk topics? ›

27 small talk topics
  • Career choice. If you're at an event with other professionals, you might ask questions about what their job is like and if they enjoy it. ...
  • Pets. ...
  • Hometown. ...
  • Books. ...
  • Sports. ...
  • Family. ...
  • Cooking. ...
  • Travel.
Apr 2, 2022

What is hot topic of discussion? ›

From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englisha hot issue/topic etca hot issue/topic etca subject that a lot of people are discussing, especially one that causes a lot of disagreement The affair was a hot topic of conversation.

What are the current topics for group discussion 2022? ›

Latest GD Topics 2022 on Social Issues
  • Does India need a uniform civil code?
  • Shortage of Open Spaces and Playgrounds Lead to Negative Tendencies in Children.
  • Women Empowerment & Gender Justice.
  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao.
  • Nirbhaya Gang Rape: Death penalties for perpetrators of crime against women.

What are the latest group discussion topics? ›

Group Discussion Topics for Students
  • How has COVID affected the Indian students?
  • Freedom: Is It a Myth?
  • Will the 5 Trillion Indian Economy Ever Be A Success?
  • Urban v/s Rural India.
  • Education System of India.
  • Death Penalty for Crime Against Women.
  • Condition of Indian States.
  • Sanitization of Poor.


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