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40 Fun Ice Breaker Questions to Get Your Students Talking

Great conversations stem from great questions. If you find your group classes a little awkward because no one is talking, then perhaps it’s time to rethink the questions you’re asking. 

Rather than asking “yes” or “no” questions, or questions that have a simple one word response, try to ask more open-ended questions that require further explanation. Not only will you learn more about your students this way, you will also help your students connect better with each other through stories and discovering things they have in common. 

Here are 40 questions you can use to break the ice and get students talking! These questions are better suited for teenage and adult students who have an intermediate level in English. Most of these questions can be followed up with “why” to dig a little deeper. 

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1) What subject(s) do you think should be taught in schools but are currently not? 

2) Is formal education necessary to be successful in life? 

3) What’s a food you love that people find strange? 

4) How do you define happiness? 

5) What new skills would you like to learn? 

6) Who’s the most interesting person you’ve met or talked with?

7) What is your proudest accomplishment? 

8) When did you laugh so hard that you couldn’t stop laughing? 

9) What do you think should be illegal? 

10) What are the best and worst gifts you’ve received? 

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11) What are some family traditions that you grew up with? 

12) What topic can you talk about for 30 minutes without stopping?

13) How do you celebrate special occasions? 

14) Where can you see yourself living for the rest of your life? 

15) Who had the greatest impact on who you are today?

16) What are you currently excited about? 

17) If you had enough money to travel to space, would you do it? 

18) Is it better to win the lottery or to have a job that you absolutely love? 

19) What qualities are most important to you in a friend or relationship? 

20) What is one thing you’ve tried and will never do again? 

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21) What is the craziest thing that has happened to you that you can’t explain? 

22) If you could create one law that everyone must follow, what would it be? 

23) If you could write a book about any topic, what would be the synopsis? 

24) Tell us about the last time you tried something new. 

25) What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? 

26) What never fails to make you smile?

27) Where do you see yourself in five to ten years? 

28) When you die, what do you want to be remembered for? 

29) What life lesson(s) did you learn the hard way? 

30) What scientific breakthrough do you hope to see in your lifetime? 

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31) What’s one invention that would make your life better?

32) If you don’t have to worry about money, what would you be doing with your time?

33) What’s something you believe in that most people would disagree with? 

34) Describe the worst job you’ve ever had. 

35) What was your favorite game to play as a child?

36) What’s a new skill you’ve acquired in the past few years? How has that helped you in life?

37) What are you most grateful for today?

38) If you could go back in time to change one thing, what would it be?

39) What’s your cellphone wallpaper and why did you choose that? 

40) What do you love the most about yourself? 

What questions do you like to ask your students to get a discussion going? Share them in the comments below! 

Ellier Leng
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