Advanced ESL Speaking Activities

One of the challenges of teaching Advanced Students is to maintain motivation. Mundane topics that deal with the everyday aspects of life are fine at lower levels of proficiency, when vocabulary might still be limited, but an Advanced Learner, especially an adult, is less likely to enjoy a lesson on What I did on my vacation? or What life will be like in 2050?

Advanced ESL Speaking Activities are needed!

After hundreds of hours of language instruction, and the real possibility that your Advanced Students are aiming toward a qualification such a IELTS, SAT or another of the standardized tests, it becomes essential that students can present an informed opinion. And opinions can be drawn out more easily with topics that provoke a little controversy and a lot of opposing views!

Here are five new Advanced ESL Speaking Activities that we hope you will use with your students. Naturally, be vigilant about your students’ cultural sensitivities before you undertake a controversial topic.

S508 – Guns and Gun Control

This lesson takes a look at some vocabulary around weapons and gun control. While gun control is not a controversial topic in all countries, the arguments for and against it in the United States constantly invoke the famous Second Amendment. Give your students the opportunity to make an informed opinion on a topic that makes emotions rise!

S509 – Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery

The boom in cosmetic surgery is not slowing down. Are these surgeries for the vain, the narcissistic and the psychologically damaged? Or is such surgery valuable in a society that places pressure on people who are ageing?

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S510 – Global Warming

Just how real are the threats posed by global warming? Is there even such a thing? Are rich countries once again determining how everyone should act? Why are we not worried about something that scientists believe will radically alter civilization for our children?

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S511 – National Stereotypes

Why do we all have an idea of what other nations ‘are like’? What are the stereotypes about your neighboring countries? Are stereotypes fine to use in comedy though fatal for some politicians (but not all)?

S512 – Women’s Rights

Is Women’s Rights still a valid social movement? Do women across the planet want, or even need, the same rights as men? Without Women’s Rights’ activists, would hard-won rights disappear once again?

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We’ll leave you to explore the advanced ESL speaking activities with your students and feel free to leave any comments below.

What controversial topics would you like to see covered next?


  • Thomas says:

    June 15, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    How about individual vs collective freedoms and rights? Pro and anti government/welfare state/health/taxes?

    • Kris Jagasia says:

      June 15, 2016 at 2:48 pm

      Awesome ideas Thomas! I especially like the government themed lesson!

  • Pedro Julião do Nascimento says:

    June 21, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    I have been using the ordinary speaking lessons with my nephew via skype: I live in SC, and he lives in Rio de Janeiro.
    He has improved a lot.
    We talk abou the pictures, which makes him more confident and less afraid of speaking. And at the end of the lesson he needs to write about his own experiences (homework). Therefore, he has improved his writing, too.
    And we are in lesson 4.
    Pedro from Indaial

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