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Starting a Conversation

Starting a Conversation

Students practice expressions for starting a conversation using a sample dialogue and sample situations. An ESL activity for improving conversation skills.

Level:  Any

Topic:  Conversation Strategies

Time:  45 minutes


  • Make one copy of the Handout for each student.
  • Make one copy of the Key for the teacher.



Pass out the Handout. Discuss the Conversation Strategy together as a class.


Task 1 from Handout: Ask students to get a partner and practice the sample conversation.


Task 2 from Handout: Ask students to try using the expressions for starting a conversation in the sample situations. Monitor correct use of the conversation starters and give feedback after each situation.


Task 3 from Handout: Introduce the conversation topic, Movies, and allow around 5 minutes for students to brainstorm questions they can ask about the topic. Note: You may want to have weaker students work with a partner.


Elicit possible questions from the students and write them on the board. Correct any mistakes and reword as necessary in order to make better questions.


Task 4 from Handout: Ask students to have a conversation.

Students should not use a dictionary during the conversation. Encourage students to use the box at the bottom of the Handout to write any words they don’t know how to say during the conversation.


After the conversation, students may get their dictionary and look up words they did not know how to say in English.


There is a Free Speaking Procedure and Partner Assignment Sheet available in the Downloads section on the ESL Conversation page. The Partner Assignment Sheet encourages students to get to know others in the class by changing partners each lesson.

Extended Practice

Randomly ask a few students to report to the class their new words. You may want to write the new words on the board for the other students to learn.

Printable Worksheets



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