Here is a list of 20 ESL conversation questions to choose from:
1. What is your favorite color?
2. What is your favorite animal, why?
3. What is your favorite food?
4. What kind of sports do you like?
5. What is your favorite movie? Why?
6. What is your favorite book? Why?
7. Are you for or against school uniforms? (advanced)
8. How are you today? Why?
9. How were you yesterday? Why?
10. How was your week?
11. What did you do yesterday?
12. What will you do after class?
13. Do you like English? Why? (I like to ask this question in the first few classes. Students are generally honest with each other and then it’s easy to identify the students who are really interested from the students who are forced to be there).
14. Do you like your hometown? What do you like most about it?
15. Do you prefer large cities or small towns? Why?
16. Which country would you like to travel to in the future? Why?
17. What kind of job would you like to do in the future? Why?
18. If you had a lot of money, what would you do?
19. If you had three wishes, what would you do?
20. What is your favorite season, why?
As for the rest of the questions, it is up to you to determine which kind of questions you would like your students to ask to each other. I would recommend having them ask questions related to the topic you are going to teach in class. For example, if you are going to teach new vocabulary about sports, try to formulate questions related to sports.
Keep in mind that some students will choose not to do this for some reason or another. I usually focus on the teams who try to do the exercise. I also provide some help to the teams which are not doing their tasks. More often then not, it’s not out of laziness that they’re not doing what they’re supposed to, but rather because they have some difficulty, or don’t understand what they have to do.
When the students are done asking their questions, they come and show me their notebook where they have written down their partner’s question. I would then give them some points on the board or some stickers depending on the age of the students.
I hope this little activity will help getting your classes started. If you use the activity often enough, students will get used to do and will jump right into it at the beginning of the classes.