Say you, as an adult, want to learn Spanish. Here’s what your teacher hands you.


It says he’s alone because all his friends teamed up with ‘LT’ to make a sandwich?

A lot of high school and mature students not yet proficient in English endure this when they relocate to an English-speaking school. They complain that the texts are “for babies.”

To create chatter with Korean and Japanese adults, I often used ESL for concepts on their level.

esl discussions (topics)

You’ll really enjoy these free conversation prompts because, unfortunately, it’s easy for people to mistake limited English for limited intelligence. However, these discussions bring out lots of fun and/or deep ideas from EAL/ESL students on topics such as:

  • jewelry (What kind of jewelry looks good on men?)
  • telephones (Have you ever received any prank calls?)
  • elevators (Have you ever had a bad experience in an elevator?)
  • obesity (Which is worse, obesity or anorexia?)
  • United States (What do you think about American people?)

Each topic features 20 open-ended questions between two people. “Student A” keeps her 10 questions secret from “Student B,” and vice versa. (You can talk one-on-one with a learner as one of the two participants, too.)

esl discussions (questions)

Use the dialogues to help develop pupils’ understanding and application of:

  • constructing questions (“What do you think about …”; “How can you change …”)
  • starting responses (“That is a good question.” “I never thought about that before.”)
  • slang/colloquialisms (“What springs to mind …”; “Can you take a joke if …”)
  • conjunctions (and, but, or, because, so)

Those concepts apply to students whose first language is English, too, so ESL finds uses amongst all groups.

By the way, I often copy-paste the questions into Word and modify them for my students’ abilities. I also take the best 10 or 12 questions and use those for our dialogue instead of the full 20.

Let me know how these work out for you or if you need a hand with anything!


So, ‘sober Tairon’ is ‘molestar’-ing Bonifacio like a sandwich? Maybe this book isn’t for babies after all.


Read new posts from in your email. Find the “SUBSCRIBE” button on the right or at the bottom.


Written by Peter Cullen

Peter Cullen loves to teach children. He specializes in literacy (elementary level) and has a lot of fun creating games and activities for class lessons. He also writes, manages social media accounts and announces roller derby games.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *