Teacher's Desk

20 Conversation Starters to Have with your Students

Making a connection with students is a great way to show you care. Here are some great conversation starters to find out more about your kids (they also work well with colleagues and family members).


  1. What’s your perfect weekend? A good way to find out what activities they enjoy, whether they like to be with people or on their own.
  2. Do you have a bucket list? What’s on it? Find out what excites students.
  3. What’s the strangest animal/thing you have ever seen in the wild? A great way to find out about places they’ve visited and what they see as unusual and noteworthy.
  4. If you were going to design an app, what would it do? Find out what they see as missing or lacking in the world around them, and what solutions they can come up with.
  5. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? Less threatening than asking then what they want to be now,
  6. What’s the best gift you have ever received? Worst gift? Find out what’s important to them and what they value.
  7. What dish can you cook really well? Opens up possibility of other questions, such as who taught them to cook, family traditions.
  8. Did your parents ever tell you any white lies growing up, like the icecream van only plays Greensleeves when it’s run out of icecream? Kids love a chance to laugh at themselves and take a dig at their parents without getting in trouble for it.
  9. What’s a popular show, movie, song or trend that you secretly hate, why? People get passionate about things they dislike.
  10. What country do you really want to visit and why? A great way to see what interests and inspires people.
  11. What’s your favourite time-wasting activity? Everyone has a guilty pleasure and usually people are happy to talk about it for a laugh.
  12. What’s something I don’t know about you that might surprise me? Kids don’t often get a chance to brag about non-academic achievements, plus this is a great way to start a conversation that might challenge how you see the student.
  13. If you could own a shop or business that sells anything, what would it be? Find out what is important to kids.
  14. What one thing on the planet do you wish we could get rid of? It might be spiders or nuclear weapons. It might be exams or people who chew with their mouth open, you learn a lot when people talk about their hates and fears – excellent as a group conversation starter.
  15. What’s your favourite room or space in your house? Find out what activities they enjoy when they’re not at school, and their home life without being too direct.
  16. What’s your party trick (weird talent)? Be prepared for seeing some weird things.
  17. Books or movies? And then follow this up with ‘favourite book/movie and why?’
  18. If you could only have one meal/cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be? A good way to find out what they enjoy, how adventurous they are with their food, and probably about their home life without being invasive.
  19. Do you think travelling changes people? A good way to find out where they have travelled, if they plan on travelling when they’re older.
  20. If you were going to design the perfect show-ride by combining two other rides, what would it be? Find out what thrills and fears people have, see how analytical and creative they can be.

Shannon Meyerkort

Shannon Meyerkort is a freelance writer and the author of "Brilliant Minds: 30 Dyslexic Heroes Who Changed our World", now available in all good bookstores.

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