ESL Speaking Activities that Work – For Students of all Levels

ESL conversation questions

These ESL speaking activities have the simple aim of encouraging students to speak openly and freely, with minimal support, in order to achieve their communicative goals. Only in these situations can we really gauge a student’s progress and discover their strengths and weaknesses. On this page, you will find suggestions for speaking games and activities that range from simpler, more controlled interactions to wide-ranging free-speaking activities.

ESL Conversation Questions

This section has hundreds of discussion questions grouped into themed cards for printing and cutting out. If you find this page useful, we offer an A4-sized book of photocopiable conversation cards with questions covering 50 topics as well as additional exercises presenting relevant vocabulary and idioms to support the discussions.

Discussion and Presentation Style Speaking Activities

Expressing Opinions

This activity is well suited to first classes with more advanced students. In this mingling activity, learners trade opinions and cards with their classmates.

Question Time 

This is a simple to set up group discussion activity where students take it in turns to choose a topic and moderate the discussion. See also random conversation topics and random conversation questions on our partner site

Old School / New School

A discussion exercise where students compare school life today to that of the past.

The World in 20 Years: Future Predictions

Students use simple future to speculate about developments in different fields.

Show and Tell

Students bring in an object that has some meaning to them.

Ask the Expert

In this speed-dating like activity, students interview each other about their hobbies and interests.

Questionnaires and Surveys

Having students create surveys and questionnaires and then using them to interview each other is a great way to get your students interacting.

Other Activities

Outdoor Activities

Why suffer in a hot and stuffy classroom trying to motivate sleepy students who only have ice cream on their minds? Here are some ideas for activities which you can take outside.

Lying Games

These kinds of speaking games are always fun to do. The challenge of keeping a straight face often leads to laughter which is always nice to have in the classroom.

2 thoughts on “ESL Speaking Activities that Work – For Students of all Levels

  1. Love this book! I will be taking an ESL teacher training course in a few months. In my present volunteer job, I’ve been asked to teach some English to the staff. They are all beginner to intermediate level. We are in a rural area of a poor country, so there aren’t many resources available, except what I can print out. Your book will help me do some fun conversation classes with them. Thanks for the great ideas!

  2. This conversation class book is brilliant! I’m very happy both with the sample, which I got first, and the purchase of the whole book. I’ll be using it for years!

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