Here is a list of 52 discussion topics for ESL groups. Each topic is associated with a playing card. A tutor can keep conversation going among a group of learners by passing around the card deck and having each learner pick a card and lead a discussion based on that card’s topic. When the discussion peters out, pass the deck on to the next learner.
Ace Is dress used to signify class in your country? How?
King What would be important to consider when designing a city? Was your home city planned? Describe a perfect city.
Queen Some web sites hold very dangerous information, for example how to make or acquire weapons. How can we control these web sites?.
Jack Has your hometown changed a lot since you were a kid? If so, how? Have the changes been for the better or worse?
Ten In Russia, China and many other countries, there is a tradition of choosing leaders who are quite advanced in years. Do you think that older people make better leaders?.
Nine What are the main economical resources in your hometown?
Eight Are there many people of different cultures in your country? Are you friends with any?
Seven What in your culture are you most proud of? What do you dislike?
Five Do people in your country dress better than Americans?
Four Is there anything about manners in the USA that you prefer to manners in your country?
Three What do you think of people with tattoos?
Two If you could edit your memories, describe one or two that you would try to make clearer and more vivid.
Ace If people are still able to (and want to) work, should they be forced to retire when they reach a certain age?
King Some people say that young women are usually 2 to 3 years more mature than young men. Do you agree?
Queen Do you think it is good manners to touch another person in greeting? To shake hands? Hug? Kiss?
Jack What are some good things to ask someone you just met? What are some things you shouldn’t ask people you just met?
Ten Is there anything about manners in the USA that you prefer to manners in your country?
Nine What changes may are likely to occur in your hometown during the next 20 years? Will you welcome those changes?
Eight What is your earliest memory? When was it? Describe it in detail.
Seven Certain English expressions associate colors with feelings? (ex. Blue with sadness, green with envy, red with rage, blue with cold.) Can you explain these associations? Do similar ones exist in your native langauge?
Six Does prison help rehabilitate criminals? (Should it?)
Five Why do men earn more than women?
Four Do you think that boys are easier to take care of than girls or vice versa? Why?
Three Should criminals and morally corrupt people be prevented from having children by law?
Two Should gay couples be allowed to marry?
Ace What do you think of the proverb, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder?”
King Is email is a good way for people to communicate? Why or why not?
Queen Do you think young children should be allowed to watch horror movies?
Jack Do you think governments have the right to censor the Internet?
Ten Is it difficult for people without a college education to get good jobs where you live?
Nine Is spanking a good way to discipline children?
Eight Are young people generally more selfish than their parents and grandparents? Does age make you more aware of and caring for others??
Seven Why is there more crime in some countries than in others?
Six Is physician-assisted suicide an option in your country? Do you think that it should be?
Five What are some things that are legal that you personally think should be illegal?
Four What are some new sources of irritation for you as a result of recent technology (examples: cell phones; automated phone systems ; motorcycles; elevator/restaurant music)
Three Should people of between 60 and 65 be forced to retire from their jobs in order to make way for younger workers? 2 to 3 years more mature than young men – do you agree? Explain your opinion.
Two Do you think that a newspaper article can supply information without giving its author’s opinion?
Ace Do you prefer driving or riding public transportation?
King How do American drivers compare to drivers in your country?
Queen What is the best book you have ever read?
Jack What do you think about police in your country? Are they effective? Do you trust them?
Ten Do you think that minorities should be given job priority because of their race? Why/why not?
Nine What makes some people become criminals? Is it poverty, upbringing, lack of education, unemployment or something else?
Eight In an overpopulated world, should people be free to have as many children as they want??
Seven What do you think are some of the most difficult problems faced by parents? Six What do you think should be done to improve living condition in cities?
Five Do you think that the Internet will replace libraries?
Four Do you think we create a new problem with each invention? What are some examples?
Three Do men swear more than women? If so, what accounts for the difference?
Two Is it OK for men to cry? For women to cry? What do people think of men or women crying??