ESL Conversation

ESL Conversation

While teaching in Japan and China, I saw the need for students to improve their communication skills.

 

Jump to ESL Conversation Topics

 

They desperately needed to work on conversation strategies, build confidence when speaking, and prepare for speaking English outside of the classroom.

 

Simple ESL conversation strategies are sometimes unknown to the students.

 

In Asia, conversation is similar to a bowling game allowing each person to take his or her turn while the others listen patiently.

 

Speaking English can be compared to playing a game of tennis. One person shoots off a question, and the conversation bounces back and forth.

 

Simple Conversation Strategies

  • Use question words: Continue a conversation by using the 5 Wh question words and the one H question word (e.g., Who, What, When, Where, Why, How).
  • Return the same question back: Answer the question and ask your partner, How about you? or And you?
  • Give more information: Answer the question and then give more information.
  • Ask follow up questions: Ask more questions about what you and your partner are talking about.
  • Show interest. Use words such as Really, Wow, Right, Yeah, That’s great, Ok, and Got it to show you are interested in what your partner is saying.

 

How to Get Students Speaking

Free speaking or Free Talk activities can help build student confidence. It is an opportunity for students to use all of the English they have previously learned and put it together to just talk. Students enjoy using English to communicate, rather than studying it as an academic subject.

 

See the Downloads section for the Free Speaking Procedure and Partner Assignment Sheet. Each of the 20 printable topic worksheets below include conversation questions and can be used with the Free Speaking Procedure. 

 

See also:

The book Conversation Strategies has some great pairwork activities. The Internet TESL Journal has an extensive list of conversation questions.

Free Speaking Procedure
Free Speaking Procedure
Partner Assignment Sheet
Partner Assignment Sheet

Try Our Lessons for ESL Conversation

Hometown

Hometown

Students brainstorm conversation questions about the topic, hometown, and then have a free speaking conversation.
Food & Restaurants

Food & Restaurants

Students brainstorm conversation questions about the topic, food and restaurants, and then have a free speaking conversation.
Music

Music

Students brainstorm conversation questions about the topic, music, and then have a free speaking conversation.
Movies

Movies

Students brainstorm conversation questions about the topic, movies, and then have a free speaking conversation.
Health & Sports

Health & Sports

Students brainstorm conversation questions about the topic, health and sports, and then have a free speaking conversation.
Hobbies & Free Time

Hobbies & Free Time

Students brainstorm conversation questions about the topic, hobbies and free time, and then have a free speaking conversation.
Money

Money

Students brainstorm conversation questions about the topic, money, and then have a free speaking conversation.
Travel

Travel

Students brainstorm conversation questions about the topic, travel, and then have a free speaking conversation.
Work

Work

Students brainstorm conversation questions about the topic, work, and then have a free speaking conversation.
Pet Peeves

Pet Peeves

Students brainstorm conversation questions about the topic, pet peeves, and then have a free speaking conversation.
Celebrities

Celebrities

Students brainstorm conversation questions about the topic, celebrities, and then have a free speaking conversation.
Marriage & Children

Marriage & Children

Students brainstorm conversation questions about the topic, marriage and children, and then have a free speaking conversation.
Gender Roles

Gender Roles

Students brainstorm conversation questions about the topic, gender roles, and then have a free speaking conversation.
Shopping

Shopping

Students brainstorm conversation questions about the topic, shopping, and then have a free speaking conversation.
Beauty

Beauty

Students brainstorm conversation questions about the topic, beauty, and then have a free speaking conversation.
Fashion

Fashion

Students brainstorm conversation questions about the topic, fashion, and then have a free speaking conversation.
Dreams

Dreams

Students brainstorm conversation questions about the topic, dreams, and then have a free speaking conversation.
Ghosts & Superstitions

Ghosts & Superstitions

Students brainstorm conversation questions about the topic, ghosts and superstitions, and then have a free speaking conversation.
Holidays

Holidays

Students brainstorm conversation questions about the topic, holidays, and then have a free speaking conversation.
UFOs & Space

UFOs & Space

Students brainstorm conversation questions about the topic, UFOs and space, and then have a free speaking conversation.
Becki

Hi fellow EFL Sensei!

I'm Becki, the Co-Founder and the one who put up all these great speaking activities. We’re here to provide enjoyable lessons for teachers like you! Learn more