ESL Conversation Topic — Random Questions

Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Sometimes I just do not have the energy to lead a ESL topic discussion so I will resort to using a series of random questions that your English students can discuss amongst themselves. After all, the purpose of an ESL conversation class is to get your students talking.

Warmup: Divide students into groups of two and hand out a copy of the following questions to each group. Tell them that they will have 20 minutes to discuss the questions amongst themselves. After the discussion, you will reconvene the class back together to disuss student’s answers.

1. Talk about three problems that you have right now that you can’t solve. How can you solve them?

2. What are three resolutions that you would like to make? Do you think it is possible to follow through with these resolutions?

3. Why do you think so many bad things have happened in Asia recently?

4. If you need advice, do you go to your mother or father? Why?

5. Is it OK to live with your boyfriend or girlfriend before you marry them?

6. Many people have cars in China today. Some of them simply use their cars to drive 2-3 minutes to work. Do you think all of the cars in China are necessary? Why or why not?

7. Who is the most famous person in the history of China?

8. Look at the sentence “Madam, I’m Adam” and the word “Racecar.” What does this sentence and word have in common?

9. What is one country in the world that you would never visit even if someone paid you a thousand dollars to visit? Why?

10. If you and your wife (or husband) were having a baby would you want to know the sex of the baby? Why or why not?

4 Responses to ESL Conversation Topic — Random Questions

  1. Old Codger says:

    Unfortunately, and sad to say, the updated information provided by Susan is correct. Over the last few months there have been some changes. Some places will not even renew a visa for someone over 60 despite the length of time that they have been in a job.

    One may be able to improve their chances of a visa renewal by having a good health insurance policy. One issued in China for use in China may be adequate, but the preferential one is one that allows for expatriation to your home country in the event of sickness or illness. The government is worried about getting hit for unpaid medical costs on behalf of foreigners.


  2. Old Codger says:

    There is no written age limit – however, as throughout Asia, what is unwritten will prevail. Given that the retirement age for women in China is between 50 and 55 years old – an 80 year old woman is not likely to be in demand. The “perception” is that you should be retired. Schools are also very leery about a foreign teacher “dropping dead” while in their employ. I am almost 60 years old and am continually threatened with “forced retirement.” The only thing that saves me from forced retirement is that I am responsible for the uni I teach at making over 5 million RMB a year through excess tuition fees for the courses that I am teaching.

    My opinion is that you would find it very difficult to find employment in China except for in a very out of the way school which is unable to attract younger teachers.


  3. I am a healthy 80 yr old woman. I have an MA in education/area in adult education. Currently leading a team of ESl tutors teaching about 24-30 students twice weekly.I have a tesol certificate.I have travelled extensively in Europe. Have been in Korea and Japan several times on business.I was employed by the Department of Defense Dependents Schools for almost twenty years.
    Is there an age limit for teachers teaching in China.


    Susan Livsey Reply:

    Dear Shirley,
    sorry to tell you it is very difficult if not impossible to get a job in china once you are 60. It is possible to keep a job you already have but not to start working. Beijing authority certainly won’t authorise a visa for anyone over 60.
    Good luck with all your endevours.
    kind regards


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