30+ ESL English Conversation Topics for Students & Young Learners

Looking to get your kids or English students talking? Here you can find a long list of English conversation topics for students learning English as a second language, (ESL). With plenty of discussion ideas to choose from, these ESL conversation topics are great in class or everyday use at home with young English learners.

Why use English Conversation Topics to start Discussions with ESL students?

Conversation is one of the most important aspects of leaning English as a second language, (ESL). Speaking in conversational form is helpful for students because they have to think about topics and words in their head before they say them.

Conversation and discussions are also great for helping students to learn about certain topics. The more they use these topics in conversation the better practice they will gain when speaking in full conversations as they progress in their English language abilities.

When students discuss topics, they are using their memory and previous language skills to form sentences. Using conversational language will help students pay better attention to their surroundings and translates their experiences into symbols.

Language is how we think and process information, when students use different speaking topics, they are putting information into their memory and accessing old memories to validate their conversations. 

Example English Conversation Topics for Students

Here is a list of 30+ English Conversation topics and discussion topics for students who are learning English as a second language.

1. Animals

  • Do you have any pets, if so, what are they?
  • What is your favourite animal and why?
  • What does this animal look like and what does it like to eat?
  • Are animals well looked after where you are from? Why?

2. Routines

  • Do you have certain routines that you follow, if so, what are they?
  • Do you have friends or family that follow similar routines?
  • What do you like about your routine?
  • How would you feel if something in your daily routine was changed?

3. Books

  • What is your favourite book and why?
  • What is your least favourite book and why?
  • Is there a library in your hometown?
  • What information can you learn from reading books?

4. Cleanliness

  • Why is cleanliness important?
  • How often do you think one should clean?
  • What types of things should be cleaned?
  • How clean do you think this room is?

5. Clothing

  • What do you like to wear?
  • Where do you buy your clothing and what colors do you choose?
  • What type of clothes do you not like wearing?
  • What type of clothing do your friends wear?

6. Culture

  • Which culture do you belong too?
  • How do people greet each other?
  • What type of customs and traditions do you practice?
  • Are you interested in learning about other cultures? Why?

7. Exercise

  • Do you usually exercise, if so, how often?
  • What activities do you do while exercising?
  • Do people in your country do a lot of exercising?
  • What can happen if people do not exercise?

8. Family

  • How many siblings do you have?
  • What are their names and how old are they?
  • Where are your parents originally from?
  • Who are your extended family members? (cousins, aunts, uncles etc.)

9. Fears

  • What is your biggest fear and why?
  • How does having this fear make you feel?
  • Do you know people that share the same fear?
  • How can you work through your fears?

10. Feelings

  • How are you feeling right now?
  • How do you feel when someone hurts your feelings? Why?
  • How do you feel when someone makes you happy? Why?
  • Why is it important to think about other people’s feelings?

11. Food

  • What is your favourite food and why?
  • What is your least favourite food and why?
  • What is a typical food from your home country?
  • What is a food you would love to try?

12. Goals

  • What is a goal that you have?
  • How do you plan to reach this goal?
  • Do you need help achieving your goal?
  • Do you think it’s important to set goals? Why?

13. Hobbies

  • What hobbies do you like to do?
  • What do you like about the hobbies you do?
  • Is there anybody in your family you share a hobby with?
  • When did you start practicing your hobby and how long do you spend practicing?

14. Holidays

  • What is your favourite holiday and why?
  • What is your least favoruite holiday and why?
  • How do you spend most of your holidays?
  • Do you do anything special with your family on holidays, if so what?

15. Hometown

  • Where is your hometown?
  • Do you live in a city or rural area?
  • Do you like living in your hometown? Why?
  • How do people get around in your hometown?

16. Household Items

  • What household item do you use the most and why?
  • How does it work?
  • How often do you use your household items?
  • Why are household items useful?

17. Jobs

  • What do you want to be when you grow up and why?
  • Do a lot of people do this job in your country?
  • What type of jobs do people in your country have?
  • Do you think everyone should work? Why?

More ESL Conversation Topics for Students

18. Manners

  • Who taught you about manners?
  • How often do you use them and why?
  • Why are using manners important?
  • How do you feel when someone isn’t using manners?

19. Movies

  • What is your favourite type of movie and why?
  • What is your least favourite type of movie and why?
  • Do you go to the cinema to watch a movie?
  • Do you watch movies in different languages? Why?

20. Music

  • What is your favourite song and who sings it?
  • How much time a day do you spend listening to music?
  • What genre of music do you like best? Why?
  • What kind of music is preferred where you are from?

21. School

  • What do you do in a typical day at school?
  • What is your favourite subject and why?
  • What is your least favourite subject and why?
  • What do you like about your teachers?

22. Seasons

  • Can you name the four seasons?
  • What clothes do you need to wear in each season?
  • What season do you like best and why?
  • What season do you like least and why?

23. Sleep

  • How time do you go to sleep and what time do you wake up?
  • How many hours of sleep do you usually get a night?
  • Do you think you get enough sleep? Why?
  • If you don’t get enough sleep, how do you feel?

24. Shopping

  • Do you like shopping and why?
  • What do you usually shop for and where do you go shopping?
  • Who do you go shopping with?
  • Are their many shops in your hometown?

25. Sports

  • What sports do you like and dislike? Why?
  • What sport is popular where you live?
  • Why are sports important?
  • Who do you play sports with?

26. Television

  • What is your favourite T.V program and why?
  • Is it an international T.V program?
  • What is the T.V program about?
  • How often do you watch this T.V program and who watches it with you?

27. Time

  • How important is time to you?
  • How much free time do you usually have?
  • Who do you spend your free time with?
  • If you had more free time, what would you do with it?

28. Transportation

  • How do you travel to get to school?
  • How long does it take you to get to school?
  • What other types of transportation have you used?
  • How often do you use public transport?

29. Travel

  • Where have you traveled too?
  • Who do you usually go traveling with?
  • What languages do you use when traveling?
  • What is your favourite tourist attraction?

30. Weather

  • What is the weather outside today?
  • What is the weather normally like where you live?
  • How can the weather effect your feelings?
  • What kind of weather is your favourite and why?

Which English conversation topics NOT to talk about?

Some conversation topics can be sensitive for students and when talking about these topics can impact them negatively. There are some topics that also are not appropriate for students because they may cause hurtful feelings unless they are brought up in certain circumstances.

Topics that tend to cause students to become uncomfortable include sexuality, politics and sometimes religious beliefs. Some people tend to have strong opinions on these topics which they entitled too, however it can sometimes be uncomfortable to talk about with students in certain situations.

English conversation / discussion topics for young learners

When using conversational English be aware of the topics you are using and make sure they will impact students in a positive way. All topics have room for discussion but be sure to discuss these at appropriate times, age level and with parent’s approval.

Do you have other English conversation topics that you use with your kids or students? Let us know!

Teaching English? Take a look at our Learn English for Kids post with tones of other ESL English learning resources for children!

ESL Conversation Topics for Kids and Young Students