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English language learners in particular benefit from ample talk time, but they are not the only ones. My students all have ideas, but only some of them share those ideas on a regular basis. Adding wait time after I ask a question helps more students get into the conversation, but still the more confident students are more likely to raise their hands. I mix and match from the following strategies depending on the students in the room and my goals for the lesson. Who talks first?
One key goal almost every adult ESL student shares is gaining the ability to speak English with others.
Luckily, they come to the classroom with a unique advantage. They have life experience. They want to speak English as well as they speak their own native language—so what better way to speak English like their native language than to speak about the very same things that they speak about on a daily basis? ESL speaking activities work even better when they speak about their own personal recollections, thoughts and ideas on these topics too! Sure, games and interactive exercises definitely work —so, you can always do some fun activities with them.
You know, a discussion like the ones they regularly have in their own language! Breaking out discussion questions like the ones below, questions about everyday things, works well because these types of questions really get the brain thinking, relate directly to the students on a familiar level and can even incite some fascinating discussions between students, all while you sit back and listen! These topics can all be used for beginner, intermediate and advanced learners! Just choose the questions that are the right level of simplicity or complexity for your students based on your knowledge of their skills.
Ask the students these questions yourselves to get conversations started, or pass them out on worksheets for students to ask each other.
Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Everybody has hobbies, and everybody loves talking about them. Hobbies could be passions too, you know. Some simple questions to ask include:. You could ask questions like:.
This topic is often a favorite for all. Some example questions are:. Everybody loves music and most people feel very strong emotions towards it—especially when it comes to the music that they love or hate most. Some simple questions to ask could be:. Lots of people work and have lots to say about it. Some good questions are:. Everyone feels a certain way about risk. Some are risk-oriented, others are risk-averse.
Talking about risks seems to generate some good conversation. Food is possibly the most universal topic of them all and everyone loves to discuss what they eat. This is also an ideal topic for beginners because the vocabulary is usually pretty simple. You could use questions like:. Whether or not the students are a motivated bunch, motivation is a good topic to discuss in order to inspire your students.
However, anyone can appreciate beauty in all its forms, and anyone can recognize the importance of the concept of beauty in our cultures, societies and behaviors. Plus, men might surprise you by caring to chime in on beauty, looks and grooming. This makes it a good topic to discuss to get some opinions and various views within a group of students.
Learning to discuss it could help your students out in the long run.
Good discussion questions are:. Questions like these are good:. We all have goals and talking about them actually gets us more encouraged to do something about them. Sharing goals is also a good thing to help get them done. A good set of questions is:.
We all have dreams, sometimes on a nightly basis, and talking about them is a great discussion topic for classes as they inspire students to be creative and even whimsical. Great questions for this topic include:. Along with eating, everybody loves talking about their favorite eateries and restaurants.
Some students could even relate to each other with their choices and views. Good questions include:. Cooking is another topic that may allow for some good conversation. Most people in most countries do a good amount of cooking. A few good questions could be:. If there is a topic that everyone loves deep down, it has to be money.
People love talking about money. Great questions include:. This one is a personal favorite for many. Shopping is becoming more and more prevalent and brings out some zest in some people. They just love shopping!
Look who’s talking! 28 esl discussion topics adult students really enjoy
Others feel strongly the other way—very few people are completely neutral on this topic. A few good questions are Aurogra :. Everybody makes plans and discussing them could even influence the class to start making plans of their own!
A few example questions include:. When you read, your mind is filled with new images, feelings, ideas and thoughts.
Books also empower and educate people, so your adult students may believe in the value of books. It can be immensely satisfying for adult students to share how they feel about reading. Some questions to ask are:.
Some students may also have children that enjoy sports! A few good examples are:. Practicing discussions on life is a good topic to cover since everyone has their own views and thoughts on the ubiquitous subject. You could bring up questions like:.
Television is one of those topics that everyone has an opinion about. The irony of it is that even though more and more programming is viewed on computers and tablets, television is still a hot topic classes love to discuss.
The worst topics to talk about in your english class
If you're looking for creative ways to teach English, then you'll love using FluentU in your classroom! FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons. It's got a huge collection of authentic English videos that people in the English-speaking world actually watch regularly. There are tons of great choices there when you're looking for songs for in-class activities. You'll find music videos, musical s from cinema and theater, kids' singalongs, commercial jingles and much, much more.
On FluentU, all the videos are sorted by skill level and are carefully annotated for students. Words come with example sentences and definitions. Students will be able to add them to their own vocabulary lists, and even see how the words are used in other videos. Plus, these great videos are all accompanied by interactive features and active learning tools for students, like multimedia flashcards and fun games like "fill in the blank. Not to mention, it's guaranteed to get your students excited about learning English!
Our brains are built to absorb, filter and store information. Discussion about learning could actually stimulate some English learning amongst the students! A few questions that are suitable are:. Like television, talking about movies is a topic that has something to be said by everybody. A few good questions to be asked could be:. But in all seriousness, talking about games gets discussion more geared towards past tense, which gives the students a fond sense of nostalgia.
9 strategies for getting more students to talk
Some simple questions could be:. A greatly universal topic that could have students discussing quite a few things, which could all relate to real life too! Great questions on this could be:. Even though nobody likes to talk about problems, per se, everybody still talks about their problems to other people! Problems are actually a good topic for discussion since they could help others relate to each other and even present solutions too.
A few fine examples of questions are:. Depending on their skill levels, you can feel free to make the questions a bit easier or more challenging. If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to teach English with real-world videos.
Bring English immersion to your classroom! For example, if a student taps on the word "searching," they'll see this: Plus, these great videos are all accompanied by interactive features and active learning tools for students, like multimedia flashcards and fun games like "fill in the blank. e-mail address to get your free PDF!