Popular ESL Topics



Business English


Health & the body


 Christmas Fun

December 5th

A variety of exercises covering aspects of Christmas.

8 Entertaining and Merry Christmas Vocabulary and Speaking Exercises

Create-a-conversation exercises

Teaching large classes? 50 students? My average class size at the moment is 50 students. One of the most useful exercises I have stumbled into recently is create-a-conversation exercises. It is really useful on a number of levels.

5  elementary create-a-conversation exercises


Shopping is one of those topics that easily engages students if you have good exercises at the right level. I’ve found it works really well with pictures as the pictures give contexts which are very familiar to most students.

8 Speaking and Vocabulary Activities for Shopping


Sports and exercise is a  fun topic and and a good topic for speaking activities and  expanding students’ vocabulary.

6 Sport Vocabulary and Speaking Exercises

Likes and Dislikes

Elementary English language speaking activities generally focus on likes/dislikes, hobbies, interests and routines. These topics allow students to get used to practicing the present simple tense with topics that relate to their daily lives.

 2 Likes and Dislikes Speaking Activities (new)

Eslflow’s Newsletter 

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Subject verb agreement can be pretty tedious to teach. Students really just need to practice.

5  Subject Verb Agreement Exercises

There  really  is quite an art to teaching extremely  elementary classes. Activities and exercises need to be really scaled back and minimalistic. If  you haven’t done it for a while, it can be quite a shock. This was my recent experience. But it can also be  quite refreshing to experiment with new ideas on Level  0 or Level 1.

9 Super Elementary Speaking Activities

5 Elementary Conversational Expressions Exercises

10 Really! Elementary ESL classroom icebreakers

10 Adjectives Exercises and Worksheets With Pictures

Socializing includes many varied and unexpected but common everyday situations which require competent speaking skills. Students of a foreign language have to be prepared to encounter these situations and be ready with appropriate responses. Pictures help give context to these situations and help students imagine  how they might respond.

Socializing and Small Talk

Movies and Music

Two of the most enjoyable speaking topics in the classroom are movies and music. No question that these topics engage students and generate a buzzing atmosphere.

3 Movie Language Exercises and Speaking Activities

2 Language and Speaking Activities for Songs and Music

Academic vocabulary can be pretty tough to teach. A variety of exercises including picture matching, sentence writing and gap fill exercises can make for a rewarding lesson.  Recycling, reinforcing and reviewing using multiple intelligences is the best way to teach vocabulary.

10 Super Essential Academic Vocabulary Lessons

For me, one of the all round best and most successful teaching activities is brainstorming. And brainstorming works even better if you put a little work into its preparation and customize it  for a particular class or topic.

8 Dynamic Classroom Brainstorming Techniques

Travel and tourism is a pretty good classroom topic if your students travel frequently. If they don’t, the travel topics don’t work so well. However, my own experience is that with the growing middle classes in Asia, students have become increasingly mobile.

5 Travel and Tourism Language and Vocabulary Lessons

There have never been many useful language textbooks or websites  for public health. I’m pretty interested whenever I find anything for this topic and I’ve created a few of my own.

3 Public Health and safety vocabulary exercises (PDF)

Complaints and annoyances are a part of everyday life. Talking about complaints and annoyances in the classroom is a great way to engage students. It’s a great way to get students to express their feelings and opinions. Textbooks often seem to avoid this great speaking and discussion topic  but I find it generates interest,  a lot of input and can be a lot of fun.

5 Cracking Complaints and Annoyances Language and Speaking Activities

News story worksheets are a great way to engage students with language and contemporary issues and events at the same time. They help students practice their use of tenses and logical narrative organization. It can also be pretty interesting and fun.

7 Illustrated New Story Writing Exercises

5 Kinds of Collocation and Phrasal Verb Exercises

4 Tantalizing Telephone Dialogue Exercises for Business English

What’s the link between language used in the health sciences and process paragraph and essay writing? Actually, these  two areas work really well together. The health sciences, including fields such as medical technology, are full of processes. And right now I’m teaching medical technology students.

9 Helpful Health and Medical Sciences Vocabulary and Language Exercises

9 Practical Process Paragraph and  Essay Writing Exercises

Older updates:

6 ESL Exercises and Worksheets for Talking about Cities

8 Excellent ESL Teaching Exercises for Houses and Housing

6 Story Telling Ideas for Teaching ESL Students

4 Excellent Exercises for Aspects of Nouns

5 Kinds of Free Online English Language Self Assessment Tests Reviewed

6 ESL speaking activities for talking about shopping

7 kitchen and cooking vocabulary and expressions worksheets

7 classifying/classification paragraph and essay writing exercises

6 descriptive writing templates and exercises

6 narrative essay writing templates and worksheets

 7 transportation, traveling and getting around language exercises

4 money and finance worksheets

8 invitation and requests dialogues exercises for every day scenarios

2 crime and illegal acts vocabulary exercises

Visual Appeal

Some of the most interesting topics to teach with the aid of images are   body language and gestures, advertising and describing appearance. They are quite different topics but their commonality is that they all have strong visual elements. As a consequence, it has been really enjoyable creating  teaching materials for these topics even though I have only scratched the surface of possibilities.

5 intercultural communication language exercises and worksheets

5 cool advertising & branding vocabulary & language exercises

6 describing people and appearance vocabulary and language exercises

8 comparison/contrast sentence, paragraph and essay writing exercises


The value of almost infinite image libraries these days is that you can find an image to match any kind of “grammar situation” you can imagine. It certainly makes teaching grammar more interesting to explore the possibilities.

7 incredibly useful past tense teaching activities

3 ed/ing adjective exercises

Images are also great for illustrating almost every kind of health problem and treatment.

7 health problems, symptoms and illnesses vocabulary exercises


Vocabulary and language for describing graphs is a pretty essential component of any Business English or academically related language course. It’s also a pretty important testing topic in English language assessment tests such as IELTS.

 5 describing graphs and trends vocabulary and writing exercises

I’ve always found cause/effect writing quite interesting to teach. This is probably because cause/effect can be applied to almost any topical social issue.

10 cause/effect writing activities

Opinion and argument paragraph writing is really enjoyable if you carefully  organize the steps  throught the writing process of brainstorming, outlining and sentence writing.

10 opinion and argument writing worksheets

I’ve realized belatedly that the best way way to look through ideas and material is to scroll up and down through it. So I’m formatting most of my pages in this way.

10 role play speaking activities

5 present perfect language and speaking activities

8 preposition exercises for time, location and movement 

Other ESL Topics