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30 ESL Conversation Starters

The best way to reach fluency in any language is to speak it as much as possible. Here are 30 fun conversation starters to help your students practice their oral English. It is highly recommended to add “why” at the end of these questions to have students elaborate on their answers. You can even ask “why” two or three times to get them to dig a little deeper. 

Beginner ESL Conversation Starters

  1. Weather – What type of weather do you like? 
  2. Hobbies – What are your favorite hobbies? 
  3. Food – If you can eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? 
  4. Family – Tell me about your family. 
  5. Sports and music – Do you prefer to play sports or listen to music? 
  6. Interests –  What interests you the most? 
  7. Friends – In your opinion, what makes a good friend?
  8. School – Tell me about a good memory from school. 
  9. Work – If you could change your job, what would it be?
  10. Movies – What movie do you recommend the most to others? 
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Intermediate ESL Conversation Starters

  1. Advice – What advice would you give to your younger self? 
  2. Books – Which book has had the greatest impact on your life?
  3. Childhood – Which experience from your childhood shaped you the most today? 
  4. Habits – What strange habits do you have? 
  5. Future – What’s one invention you hope to see in the future?
  6. Travelling – If you were given $100,000 to travel the world for one year, what would you do? 
  7. Personality – Do you think personalities are fixed or changeable over time?
  8. Success and failure – What past failure of yours has contributed to a future success? 
  9. Superpowers – If you could have a new superpower that no superhero has ever had, what would it be?
  10. Five senses – If you had to lose one of your five senses, which one would it be?
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Advanced ESL Conversation Starters

  1. Change – What event caused the biggest change in your life? (Could be positive or negative)
  2. Challenges – What has been the greatest challenge in your life that you have overcome?
  3. Leadership – If you were president of your country, what would be your top three priorities? 
  4. Artificial intelligence – Which fields will benefit or suffer the most from artificial intelligence?
  5. Ethics – What were some ethical dilemmas you faced? How did you make a decision?
  6. Values – What belief do you stand firmly on no matter what others say?
  7. Hypothetical scenario – If you knew you had 100 days left to live, what would you do?
  8. Supernatural – Have you ever experienced something supernatural? Talk about it. 
  9. Technology – How has technology impacted your life? Both positively and negatively. 
  10. Addiction – Can a good habit become a bad addiction? 

We hope these ESL conversation starters will help your future ESL classes be more engaging! If you have some other fun questions you like to ask to your ESL students, feel free to share them in the comments below. 

LatinHire is currently hiring a lot of online English teachers for Latino students (adults and children). If you are interested in joining LatinHire’s teaching team, click here to apply.

Ellier Leng
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