Small Talk

cartoon silhouettes of two people talking with speech bubbles between them

Tutor Tip


Purpose: Practice question formation and social encounters

Preparation time: 0 minutes

Materials needed: ¼ sheet of paper (to use as crib sheet)

Preparation: Distribute sheets of paper to learners.


  1. Discuss with learners that when you are with other people, it is polite to talk with them.  We call this “small talk.”  A good way to show that you are interested in engaging with another person is to ask them questions (but not too personal!) about themselves.
  2. Brainstorm two or three appropriate questions we can use in these situations as a whole class. 
  3. Have the students write the questions on the ¼ sheet, and encourage them to come up with one or two additional questions. 
  4. Practice asking and answering the questions as necessary as a whole class.
  5. Model walking up and greeting someone with a partner, then model taking turns asking and answering questions. 
  6. When all is set, everyone stands and finds a partner, greets one another, and begins asking each other questions.
  7. Every couple of minutes, signal that people should find a new partner. Do this three or four times so that the students can build fluency and confidence in asking their questions.


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