Speaking is probably the area ESL students want to improve the most. You will see many students saying that they want to be able to ‘free talk’ in English. Why would people learn a language if they cannot use it in real life? For many ESL students, English speaking can be tougher than reading and writing. In this case, conversation topics come in handy. Check out the ESL conversation topics for adults. Use the topics and discussion questions in your conversation lesson with helpful ESL speaking activities.
Conversation Topics for Adults
The list of topics to discuss for adults we have here isn’t the only one that works. However, coming up with discussion topics for adults can be time-consuming. Use these questions and conversation topics to make your ESL speaking class prep a little bit easier!
Also, if you want more adult conversation starters or discussion questions, check out this book!
Discussion Questions and Conversation Topics
Check out these hot topics to talk about with your adult ESL students!
Everybody has a hobby. Even if someone doesn’t have a hobby, he or she will at least want to have one. It is one of the most common and easy adult conversation topics.
- What is your hobby?
- How often do you do your hobby?
- Who is your hobby buddy? (Or, Is there anyone you would like to do your hobby with?)
- How long have you been doing your hobby?
- Why is it important to have a hobby?
- How would you recommend your hobby to another person?
- Is there another activity you want to make a hobby?
Some people love going to the movies every weekend. Of course, some don’t, but at least it is a great topic to discuss! Most people usually have a very clear taste in movies.
- What is your favourite movie?
- How often do you watch a movie?
- What is your favourite movie genre?
- When was the last time you watched a movie?
- Who do you usually watch a movie with?
- What is your favourite movie theatre snack?
- Who is your favourite movie character?
Music is another great conversation topic for adults. We all grew up liking at least a few songs. Similar to movies, people have strong tastes in music. It will definitely be an interesting discussion!
- When do you listen to music?
- What type of music do you like or dislike?
- Who is your favourite artist?
- What was your favourite childhood song?
- How often do you listen to music?
- What streaming platform do you use to listen to music?
- If you were able to listen to only one song for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
As an adult, most of your students will have experience going on a date, asking out for a date, or at least considering dating someone. So, why not have a conversation about dating?
- Who was your first date?
- Where would you like to go for a first date?
- What type of food do you have during a first date?
- What is your best or worst date experience?
- What makes a good date?
- How would you ask someone out?
When most of your students are mature, we can assume that they have a job or have had a job in the past. This is a great discussion topic for adults to share their experiences.
- What was your first job?
- Have you ever had a mean co-worker or boss?
- What was your best/worst job experience?
- What type of work do you want to do in the future?
- Would you recommend your job to other people?
- What keeps you motivated at work?
- What is more important when you choose a job, money or passion?
Where do your students live? Unless someone is new to his or her neighbourhood, most of your students should know a lot about their town! Ask them what’s famous, what they like about their neighbourhood, and why it is a good place to live!
- What do you like about where you live?
- What do you dislike about where you live?
- Would you like to move somewhere else? Or, are you happy with where you live?
- What are some reasons that people might move to your neighbourhood?
- Are there any famous areas or sights near where you live?
7. Travel: One of the Best Conversation Topics for Adults
Not everyone might have an amazing travel story, but at least we all dream about it. Travelling is often many people’s short-term goal. People save money to go on trips with friends and family or even by themselves. Learn more about your ESL adult students by asking discussion questions about travelling.
- When was the last time you went travelling?
- Who do you usually travel with?
- Where do you want to go travelling?
- Which countries have you been to in the past?
- Would you recommend your home country to travellers?
- Among the places you have travelled to, where was your favourite country or city?
Learn more about Travel conversation lesson ideas.
8. Goals: Top Conversation Topics
We all have big and small goals. Some people might set goals more often, and some might set big ones only for the upcoming year. Encourage your students to talk about their goals. Who knows? Your students’ goals might be something their classmates or you can help to achieve.
- What are your short-term goals?
- What are your long-term goals?
- What kind of work or activity are you doing to achieve your goals?
- When do you think you will be able to achieve your goals?
- Is there anyone helping you achieve your goals?
- How do you think you will feel when you achieve your goals?
- What are your usual new year’s resolutions?
Who doesn’t like food? Everyone has a favourite restaurant. Use restaurants as a conversation topic for adults, your students will have so much to talk about!
- What is your favourite restaurant?
- Where is your favourite restaurant?
- What is the best menu item at your favourite restaurant?
- If you opened a restaurant, what type of food would you have on the menu?
- When you go to a restaurant with a friend, how many dishes do you order?
Similar to restaurants, cooking is another fun food-related discussion topic for adult ESL students.
- Are you a good cook?
- How often do you cook?
- Would you rather cook or eat out?
- When you invite people, do you usually cook or order delivery food?
- What kinds of food can you cook well?
- When did you start cooking?
When you have the time and money, shopping can be very fun. Your adult ESL students must have a lot of experience shopping! Make your students ask each other these discussion questions about shopping.
- How often do you go shopping?
- What is the most recent item that you bought?
- Do you prefer online shopping or in-store shopping?
- Do you prefer to pay with cash or a credit card?
- Who do you like to go shopping with?
- Where do you usually go shopping?
There are so many different types of games. For ESL students, games can be an interesting conversation topic as different countries like to play different games. Ask how your adult students’ preferences vary.
- Do you prefer board games or computer games?
- How often do you play games?
- What is your favourite game?
- Who do you play games with?
- What was your favourite childhood game?
- What is the most popular game in your home country?
We all have our own fears. This discussion topic for adults can lead to long and deep conversations.
- What are your greatest fears?
- How do you overcome your fears?
- How does your fear affect you?
- What made you afraid of your fears?
- Since when were you scared of your fears?
- When you are overwhelmed with your fears, what helps you the most?
We feel love towards many people, including family, friends, and significant others. Find out your ESL adult students’ thoughts about love.
- What is love?
- What is your favourite song or movie about love?
- Who do you love the most?
- When was your first love?
- When was your most recent breakup?
- How do you express love?
15. Problems: ESL Conversation Topics
- Currently, what is your biggest problem?
- When you have a problem, how do you solve it?
- Who do you seek help from when you have a problem?
- What is your negotiation technique?
- On average, how long does it take you to solve a problem?
- What kinds of problems do you encounter at work?
There are so many holidays in a year. We all have our favourite holidays, don’t we?
- What is your favourite holiday?
- What do you like to dress up as on Halloween?
- What are your plans for this Christmas?
- Have you ever received a love letter on Valentine’s Day?
- What’s your favourite Thanksgiving dish?
- What is the most popular holiday in your home country?
How to Plan an ESL Conversation Lesson for Adults
Learn step-by-step how to plan a conversation class for adult ESL students.
More About ESL Conversation Starters and Conversation Topics for Adults
FAQs About ESL Conversation Topics for Adults and Discussion Lessons
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about planning an ESL conversation class for adults.
What are some good conversation topics?
Some of the best ESL conversation topics for adults are hobby, movie, music, date, work, neighbourhood, travel, goals, restaurants, cooking, shopping, games, fear, love, and problems.
What is free talk in ESL?
Free talk is probably the most desired outcome of English classes by ESL students. Being able to free talk means that ESL students are able to speak English fluently in a casual conversation. However, this cannot be achieved in a short period and requires ESL instructors to build rapport with students. Students have to be comfortable making mistakes when speaking English in front of their classmates and teachers. ESL conversation lessons can be stressful, but online teaching resources with conversation starters and discussion topics can be very helpful for teachers!
How do you teach ESL conversations to adults?
Find conversation topics you want to discuss in your ESL class. Then, use these ESL conversation activities for adults! The video also gives lesson plan ideas.
ESL Conversation Topics for Adults: Join the Conversation
What are your thoughts on these discussion questions and conversation topics for adults? Which one is your favourite? Also, check out a list of fun would you rather questions for adults. If there is another topic you love talking about with your students, let us know in the comments! We’d love to hear from you.