Are you trying to figure out what to actually do in your English conversation class for adults? That’s a good question.
The good news is that you’ve come to the right place! Here are 7 of my favourite ESL activities for adults.
ESL Conversation Activities
If you want to make your English conversation class as interesting, engaging and fun as possible for the students, you’ll need these top 7 ESL conversation activities for adults. They’re guaranteed to get your students speaking English in the most painless way possible! They range from warm-ups, to fun games to complete ESL lessons.
Check out these conversation activities below. Clicking on the title will take you to the article with all the information. How to set it up, resources needed, etc.
#1: The Small Talk Game
Small talk is an important of the English language, but it’s often an overlooked skill. I’m not sure why we don’t teach it more in our classes. Perhaps it’s because the textbook don’t really focus on it? Maybe it’s hard to teach students to do it well?
Whatever the case, help out your students with one of my favourite ESL conversation games.
You can get students practicing it while having fun with this game. I like it so much because there’s an element of competition to it that keeps things interesting. However, it’s best for intermediate to advanced students because it requires maintaining a conversation about a variety of topics for a set period of time.
Learn more about it here: Small Talk Activity.
#2: The Cocktail Party
This is another small talk conversation activity for adults that gets student mingling and mixing. It’s great at replicating real life. Students will be having conversations just like they would at a cocktail party. Give your students confidence that they can venture out into the real world and use English!
Find out more here: The Cocktail Party ESL Activity for Adults.
#3: The Hobby Unit-A Fun ESL Conversation Activity
I’m so, so weary of the hobby unit because I’ve taught it so many times. Here’s an interesting activity I do that gets my students engaged, asking follow-up questions and talking together. Student centered language teaching at its best!
I like this activity as well because you can use it with pairs, or groups of 3-5. It’s flexible and can be adapted to most levels, ages and class sizes.
Check it out here: How to Avoid the Hobby Unit Brain Rot.
#4: Role Plays
If you teach beginner students, it can be a little bit difficult to do some of these conversation activities. They simply don’t have the grammar and vocabulary skills necessary to engage in a conversation beyond the very basic facts.
Something you can do to help your beginners is to use role-plays in class. These will help them to have short conversations, build some confidence and also get creative. The best ones have a number of possibles ways that students can answer.
They are also perfect for a huge variety of topics and they can really help your students improve their sentence structure. Before speaking, students can a bit of practice with writing.
It’s like a conversation, but it’s a bit more structured. You can learn more about how to use role plays in your English classes here:
#5: Conversation Lesson Plans
Teaching ESL is not easy, especially if you want to do it well. However, a good class starts with a good lesson plan, and they can help you bring some order out of the chaos that’s possible if you don’t have this in place.
I often plan my own conversation class lesson plans based around a topic that is in the news. Here are 6 samples to check out and see how I do it.
They are mostly for students based in Korea, so you’ll have to adapt them for your own students. Even if you don’t teach in Korea, check them out and you’ll be able to see how to plan an English speaking lesson.
All the details here: Conversation Lesson Plans for Adults.
#6: Find Someone Who Bingo
This ESL warm-up game is an excellent way to get students moving around the class and getting to know each other. You can use it as the beginning of the semester on the first day or class, or later on for an energizer if the students are low energy.
Students walking around, having fun while speaking English with lots of different partners? This activity will help to create some buzz about your lesson.
Love it! I’m sure you will too. These are usually the best kind of ESL conversation activities.
More details here: Find Someone Who Bingo.
#7: Just a Minute
If you ask your students in your ESL classroom, many of them will mention speaking fluently in English as their top priority in your class. However, many of the exercises we do focus a lot on accuracy.
Just a Minute is a speaking activity that focuses exclusively on speaking. It’s a nice warm-up at the beginning of class that’s best for intermediate to advanced level students.
The way it works is that you write a bunch of words on the board. Then, students will have to talk about one of them (chosen randomly) for a full minute, or two minutes (depending on the level).
It’s easy to turn this into a conversation activity by requiring the people “listening” to ask 2-3 follow-up questions once the person is finished speaking. You can learn more about this English speaking activity here:
Like these ESL activities for adults?
If you found these ESL conversation activities useful, then you’ll need to check out this book: 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities: For Teenagers and Adults.
There are almost 40 ESL activities that require very little in the way of preparation when you’re teaching English. Planning your speaking classes is easy, with a wide array of fun and interesting activities.
The book is available in both digital and print formats. The (very cheap!) digital one can be read on any device. You just have to download the free Kindle reading app. Top-quality ESL activities to have at your fingertips anywhere you go? Love it!
Check out the book on Amazon today:
What Do you Think?
Do you have one or two favourite ESL conversation games and activities for when you’re teaching ESL students? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’re open to new ideas for teaching English!
Also be sure to contact me with any questions that you might have about ESL activities for adults.