Partner Conversation Starters

Skills: Writing/Speaking
Time Required: 15-30 Minutes
Level: Beginner-Intermediate
Materials Required: Nothing

Give the students a conversation starter to get them going and prevent that awkward time at the beginning of many conversation activities when your students don’t know how to get it going. For example, if you’re talking about feelings in class that day, you can use:

A. Hey _____, how are you doing? B. I’m great, how are you? A. I’m _______ (sad, embarrassed, angry, bored, etc). B. Oh? What’s wrong? A._____ B._________ A.__________ , B.___________, ……….

Or, if you’re talking about festivals in Korea:

A. Hey ________, have you been to any festivals recently? B. (Yes…I went to_________)/ (No, but….___years ago I went to….)

Give the students about 10 minutes to write the conversation with their partner if they are lower level students. You can adjust the number of lines to suit the ability level. Then, the students memorize their conversation, and recite it to their classmates.

If you have higher level students, you can simply use it as the beginning to a kind of free-talking exercise.

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For even more conversation starters, check out: The Complete Book of Questions: 1001 Conversation Starters for Any Occasion. Almost all of them can be adapted for your ESL Speaking classes; I’ve personally used this book in many of my classes.

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