Discussing languages

This is a discussion activity that you can use to find out about your students’ opinions of language learning and how important they think it is.

Jo Budden

It gets your students talking and sharing opinions but also gives you a chance to listen in and to understand their motivation and attitudes towards languages.


Make a copy of the discussion statements and cut them into strips so those students can take one statement at a time and discuss it. Add some statements of your own if your students have specific language issues they may want to discuss.


  • Put your students into groups of four or five and give each group a statement.
  • Let them discuss the statement for a few minutes while you monitor and feed in any language they need.
  • Then rotate the statements around the groups.
  • Once all the students have discussed all the statements you might want to have a class vote to see what the consensus of opinion is on these statements and share some of your own opinions and insights.

 Discussion statements

  • Everybody should speak at least two languages.
  • In the future there won’t be so many different languages in the world.
  • Tourists in my country should make an effort to speak my language.
  • Life would be easier if all countries spoke the same language.
  • I think learning languages is really important these days.
  • Girls are normally better at learning foreign languages than boys!
  • If languages disappear, different ways of thinking also disappear.
  • I would like to know more foreign languages.
  • Some languages are more important than others.
  • English is an ‘international language’.
  • Knowing foreign languages helps you to get a good job.

This activity was originally published in December 2007

Language Level


Submitted by algeria teacher on Tue, 05/11/2010 - 12:09


I studied English in London and now teaching it in Algeria so just looking for help on how to begin teaching it to students who have never studied English a range of 11-12

Submitted by linminphyo on Mon, 06/14/2010 - 04:39

In reply to by algeria teacher


A range of 11-12, which mean age or level? I would like to improve writing and speaking skill. Do you have any idea?


I prefer practicing Speaking skill through songs, that way students improve their fluency, rhythm and intonation in a dynamic way and the best of all, is that they reinforce grammar inductively through fill in the blanks exercises.

Good luck!

Kind regards,

Azucena Torres

Lima (Peru)

Submitted by meriem herrati on Sat, 06/19/2010 - 12:46

In reply to by algeria teacher


Hi my name is Meriem Herrati and am 16 years old a want to be a English teacher may I ask you a question? Is it hard to be a teacher of English or not?

Submitted by Gulshan Huseynli on Fri, 05/20/2011 - 17:05


That is wonderful activity. I think my students need it more. Some of them have difficulties learning  the English language and also some of them think that they dont need to learn English or just any other languages. Very often they ask me " Do the English learn Azerbaijani in their school? When they get the answer "No"it it the point when  discussion starts.  I think everybody is looking for good reasons of the neccesity of  learning language or just anything.  They are inclined asking question "Why". Thank you for this awesome idea.

Submitted by amm.ozone on Mon, 11/28/2011 - 14:09


I would use this activity with my students on the first day of the course. It is a great activity to get to know the students' opinion about learning English. And it can also be  use as ice-breaking activity.

Thank a lot for this brilliant activity.

Submitted by Kalfonsse on Wed, 05/29/2019 - 10:49


I used to do such kinds of activities with my students and I think it is one of the best techniques to make students learn easily in a real context. Especially when using two languages, even sometimes the national language.

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