Comprehensive ESL English Discussion Topics

'Engaging Activities for Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced Levels'

Have you ever wanted more engrossing and colorful English discussions/conversations? The methods here are little or no prep with a warm-up, teacher learning, and practical activities.

The advanced-level students will learn
– Brainstorming sessions
– Synonyms, and antonyms
– Engage familiarity
– Confidence
– Simple conversations
– Informal expressions
– Simple words
– Colloquialisms, slang, euphemisms
– Moral choices
– And 100 conversation topics.

Nigel draws upon more than ten years of teaching English and encouraging students to speak. He has created this Step by Step Guide, whereby you can build lessons efficiently and teach ESL students well.

The free resources mean you can reuse the lessons repeatedly, which builds familiarity and confidence for all.

We can adapt the lessons that follow to run from 30 to 90 minutes. They can start with about 5-10 minutes of free talking. This can cover how the students are, what they have been doing, and contributions from you.
The structure of the lessons is modular, with clear steps to take. Everything starts with the preparation work. Depending on the students’ ability, topics might need a quick worksheet or short classroom activity at the start of the lesson and will need to set aside time to devise this. I have listed reference materials for each lesson. I give both British and US spellings of words, for example, “favourite/favorite.”

The purpose of each lesson is for students to gain confidence and increase their vocabulary by talking about different topics. If they are unsure about what to do, this might mean a need preparatory work first.

Lessons always progress according to the following stages:

1. Warm-up and Objective – Introduce the topic and go over any preliminary exercises that need to be covered.
2. Exploration and Comprehension – Explain the class material and ensure students understand.
3. Guided Student Practical – With help from you, students practice the exercise in pairs or small groups.
4. Student Presentation and Evaluation – This is the students’ opportunity to prove to the rest of the class what they have discussed.
5. Review and Assess – At this stage, review any problems with comprehension and practical usage.
6. Bonus Activity – This is a short and fun activity that acts as a method of review and a welcome break.


This material has covered classes with anything up to twenty students. The lessons are easy to adapt, depending on your classroom size and level. With a large class, encourage smaller groups to discuss topics together and ask the students to share their ideas with the entire class.

Individual Books

If you would like a certain section from the book then have a look blow. There are three levels available: Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced.

English for Elementary Level Students

English for Intermediate Level Students

English for Advanced Level Students

One day I looked at the teaching materials I'd accumulated as an ESL teacher in South Korea and realized what a great resource they'd make for other teachers.

The lessons collected in this book encouraged my students to speak English without causing the students to feel embarrassed about making mistakes. They were so much fun that I thought it would be great to share them with others.

This book helps build students’ confidence by developing their English skills and increasing their vocabulary using a range of fun and motivating activities.

What is an ESL Teacher?

Over time, the traditional term ESL teacher has been replaced by the term experienced speaker. For students, ESL teachers are people with whom they can practice speaking and who can boost their confidence. The traditional form of teaching has evolved into edutainment.

When a student takes a lesson, they want to walk away with an enjoyable time. For this to happen, they need to be immersed in an English environment that is both comfortable and informal.

A more relaxed learning environment helps soften the rigid boundaries between using English in and outside the classroom. This can be further improved by building trust and friendship in the lessons.

Control the Flow

When a lesson goes well, students will be doing most of the talking. The ESL teacher acts as a referee to share speaking roles and control the balance of speakers within the room.

Encourage open questions only, with no yes or no answers. It’s OK to ignore students’ mistakes if they are minor, but major errors should be corrected. For me, this would include errors in tenses and pronouns.

Language Differences

If the students are from various countries, then there may be some cultural differences and educational methods to deal with.

In theory, this situation can create a positive and supportive learning environment in which everyone listens to and tries to understand other people’s languages and perspectives.

Students have many personal experiences and abilities that they can bring to the lesson. Teachers can make use of these experiences to develop and enhance classroom interactions.

When I was teaching English in South Korea, I saw many spontaneous interactions between students develop during lessons. If students speak together in English, I encourage the students to talk even if they are not keeping to the topic.

Don't Forget Other ESL Teachers

It can be tough for ESL speakers to go to another country and to adapt to a different culture. It can take many years to understand the language and customs of the local people. I have known some ESL teachers who expected too much and were overly controlling as they were back home. This only resulted in losing the attention of a classroom of students as well as alienating the country’s native teachers.

Understanding Students' Needs

Lessons must be highly productive, especially for demanding students. To achieve that productivity, teachers must find individual students’ level of ability. Knowing what they can and cannot do gives the teacher control over how far to push students and in which directions.

This can be much harder as class size increases, so don’t worry if getting to know students takes time. Eventually, you will become familiar with individual students’ backgrounds and preferences. Teachers need to appeal to students’ learning styles as this will help develop trust and bonding within the group.

Many English-language learners see the teacher and other class members as friends. Sometimes that can mean studying takes second place. If that is their goal, so be it. Remember, though, that the teacher can be moderated by students’ grades and percentage of passes. So keep an eye on the main focus of the lessons; it’s not only about establishing friendships.

My Experience

I am a qualified ESL teacher with TESOL certifications. I taught in South Korea for eight years before returning to Manchester, UK, where I have continued teaching ESL to students including Spanish and Arabic speakers.

English for Elementary to Advanced Level Students

I hope the methods and materials presented here give you as much fun and insight as they gave me and my students. I learned so much from the students’ diverse backgrounds that I would never have experienced without the opportunity of teaching abroad. 

I would love to know about your experiences with these lessons. It would be great if you could give a review on Amazon and share the good vibes.