8 Free ESL Conversation Lesson Plans

Spark engaging discussions with these real-life ideas

Teacher and elementary students at whiteboard in classroom

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These popular, free lesson plans focus on building conversational skills in ESL and EFL Classes. These lessons are for use in class with beginner to advanced level classes. Each lesson includes a short overview, lesson objectives and outline and materials that you can copy for in-class use. ESL conversation lesson plans can help you maintain the structure in a lesson, which can otherwise easily become overly free-form.

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Talking About Friendship

The following exercise focuses on what students like best/least about friends. The exercise allows students to practice a number of areas: expressing opinions, comparatives and superlatives, descriptive adjectives and reported speech. The overall concept of the lesson can easily be transferred to other subject areas such as: holiday choices, choosing a school, perspective careers, etc.

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Discussing a Difficult Situation

This lesson focuses on the use of modal verbs of probability and advice in the past tense. A difficult problem is presented and students use these forms to talk about the problem and offer suggestions for a possible solution to the problem. While the focus is on the past forms of modal verbs of probability and advice (i.e., must have been, should have done, etc.), it also serves as a great starting point for a discussion of issues that are sure to be hotly debated.

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'Guilty' Classroom Conversation Game

"Guilty" is a fun classroom game which encourages students to communicate using past tenses. The game can be played by all levels and can be monitored for varying degrees of accuracy. The game gets students interested in detail which helps to refine students' questioning abilities. "Guilty" can be used as an integrated game during lessons focusing on past forms, or just to have fun while communicating.

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Using a Sentence Auction

Holding 'Sentence Auctions' is a fun way to help students review key points in grammar and sentence construction while having some good fun. Basically, students in small groups are given some 'money' with which to bid on various sentences. These sentences include correct and incorrect sentences, the group which 'buys' the most correct sentences wins the game.

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Introductions for ESL

The following conversation exercises serves the double purpose of introducing students to each other and getting them to converse from the get-go, as well as reviewing the basic tense structures that they will be working on during your course. This spoken exercise can also work well as a means of review. For lower-intermediate or false beginners.

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National Sterotypes

Young learners—especially teenage learners—are at the point in their life when they are developing their own ideas about the world around them, especially the world beyond their immediate surroundings. Learning from their elders, media and teachers, young adults pick up a lot of stereotypes about other nations. Helping them come to terms with stereotypes, and recognize that stereotypes do contain some truth, but also can not be applied across the board, is central to this lesson. The lesson also helps them improve their descriptive adjective vocabulary while they discuss perceived differences between nations through stereotypes.

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Movies, Films, and Actors

Almost anywhere you go these days, people love to talk about what they have seen in the cinema. Any class, will usually be well versed in both their own native country's films and the latest and greatest from Hollywood and elsewhere. This subject is especially useful with younger students who might be hesitant to speak about their own lives. Speaking about films provides an almost endless font of possibilities for conversation.

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Talking About Then and Now

Getting students to talk about the differences between the past and present is a great way to get students using a variety of tenses and cementing their understanding of the differences and time relationships between the past simple, present perfect (continuous) and present simple tenses. This exercise is quite easy for students to understand and helps to get students thinking in the right direction before beginning the task.