ESL Discussion Topics

100+ ESL discussion topics for every English level

Choose the right ESL discussion topic for your next class!

Struggling to come up with the right ESL discussion topics for your lesson plans? In this guide, we’ve included a list of 100+ ESL discussion topics along with our best tips and tricks for choosing the right topic for every English level.

You’ll also find links to printable lists of ESL conversation questions for each of the conversation topics below. If you use these lists to save time and choose the right conversation starter for each class, you’ll find that the conversation possibilities are endless.

List of ESL discussion topics

What are ESL discussion topics?

ESL discussion topics are teaching tools that help English learners practice their speaking skills. It’s important to select suitable-but-interesting discussion topic for your students if you’d like to facilitate engaging conversation in your classroom.

ESL discussion topics vs ESL conversation questions: what’s the difference?

ESL discussion topics are discussion categories whereas ESL conversation questions are lists of questions that focus on a particular discussion topic. Discussion topics and conversation questions go hand in hand; you will need to choose a discussion topic and to formulate conversation questions based on that topic for your students.

How to choose the right ESL discussion topics for your classroom

Choosing the right ESL discussion topics for your lessons is an art unto itself. You’ll need to consider consider the following criteria before creating your speaking lesson plans.

  • English Level. Basic discussion topics for beginners. Advanced discussion topics for experienced English students.
  • Age. Some topics are better suited to younger English students, while other topics are better suited to Adult learners.
  • Culture. Cultural norms may rule out . For example, if it is culturally unacceptable to discuss relationships or money in public, then these discussion topics should be avoided.
  • Conflict and Controversy. Some discussion topics may . For example, politics and religion. Of course, healthy debate is possible! But if you wish to avoid conflict and controversy in the classroom, then it may be better to avoid these discussion topics altogether.

What is a good topic for ESL students to discuss?

The best topic for ESL students to discuss will depend on each student’s English level and other factors that we listed above. Here are some discussion topic suggestions with links to printable conversation questions for each topic.

ESL discussion topics for beginner students

ESL discussion topics for intermediate students

ESL discussion topics for advanced students

ESL discussion topics for children and teenage students

ESL discussion topics for adult learners

What are some controversial ESL discussion topics?

List of ESL discussion topics books

Want to save yourself some time? ESL discussion topics books can reduce the amount of planning you need to do before class. These books contain lists of printable ESL discussion topics and conversation questions that can be used to facilitate English speaking practice with your students.

The best ESL discussion topics books are:

What are your students’ favorite ESL discussion topics?

Every English learning group is different. And some classes tend to prefer certain English discussion topics over others.

Whether you’re asking students to practice English with another conversation partner or engaging entire classrooms in speaking practice exercises, yow are you choosing ESL conversation topics for each of the groups that you teach? And what topics are they responding to the most?

Share your experiences in the comments below. And tell us how you’re using ESL discussion topics in the classroom.

Cameron Smith

I'm an English Communication Coach based in Vancouver, Canada. I'm on a mission to help millions of people speak English with confidence. Thanks for visiting this site! If you want longer video content, please follow me on YouTube for fun English lessons and helpful learning resources!

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