List of Controversial Questions for ESL Conversations

In this post, we’ve compiled a list of controversial questions for ESL conversations that will promote thoughtful discussion and encourage learners to practice their language skills in a thought-provoking and engaging way.

These are some examples of some of the controversial questions you will find in this post:

  • Is censorship ever justified?
  • Is the concept of cultural appropriation harmful or misunderstood?
  • Is there a gender pay gap?
  • Is social media a net positive or negative for society?

Using controversial questions in the classroom requires some level of professionalism so make sure to read the following tips.

How to Use Controversial Questions in the Classroom

When using controversial questions in the classroom, it is important to approach the topic with respect to ensure that the discussion remains productive and constructive. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Establish ground rules: Before beginning the discussion, establish ground rules for respectful communication and open-mindedness. Encourage students to listen to each other’s opinions and avoid personal attacks.
  2. Provide context: It is essential to provide context and background information on the controversial topic to ensure that all students have a solid understanding of the issue.
  3. Encourage critical thinking: Encourage students to approach the topic with a critical eye, considering multiple perspectives and evaluating evidence to support their arguments.
  4. Manage emotions: Controversial topics can be emotionally charged, so it is essential to manage emotions and avoid escalating the conversation into a heated argument.
  5. Use appropriate language: It is important to use appropriate language that is respectful and inclusive, avoiding language that is inflammatory or derogatory.
  6. Follow up: After the discussion, follow up with students to ensure that they feel heard and that any lingering concerns or questions are addressed.

List of Controversial Questions

These are sets of controversial questions that you can use in the ESL classroom

  • Should euthanasia be legal?
  • Is climate change caused by human activity?
  • Should the death penalty still be used?
  • Should vaccines be mandatory?
  • Should there be limits on free speech?
  • Is censorship ever justified?
  • Is social media a net positive or negative for society?
  • Should the government provide free healthcare?
  • Does free healthcare make people careless?
  • Should there be stricter gun control laws?
  • Should there be limits on the right to bear arms?
  • Should same-sex marriage be legal?
  • Should religion play a role in government?
  • Should the US have open borders?
  • Should abortion be legal or illegal?
  • Should there be a minimum wage?
  • Should there be a maximum wage?
  • Is basic universal income a good idea?
  • Is it ethical to keep animals in captivity for human entertainment?
  • Is it ethical to use animals for scientific experiments?
  • Is there a gender pay gap?
  • Is the concept of cultural appropriation harmful or misunderstood?
  • Is Torture Ever Justified?

More ESL Conversation Questions

These are other ESL conversation questions that you might want to check.

  1. Questions about Learning English
  2. Would you Rather Questions for ESL Conversations
  3. Questions about Thanksgiving
  4. Questions about Animals
  5. Neighborhood Discussion Questions
  6. Video Games: Conversation Questions
  7. TikTok Conversation Questions
Manuel Campos, English Professor

Manuel Campos

I am Jose Manuel, English professor and creator of, a blog whose mission is to share lessons for those who want to learn and improve their English