Practicing English conversation is one of the quickest ways to learn the language. Students who do not have a native speaker to practice with can advance their skills online. There are a number of different sites that provide EFL conversation starters, EFL bots, communities of native speakers, and other forms of conversation practice. Here are 15 places for EFL and ESL students to explore.
ESL Partyland - ESL Partyland provides a large collection of materials that can be used to practice speaking English. Materials include conversation questions, complete lesson plans, and suggestions for using conversation questions.
Lesson Planet - Lesson Planet, a search engine for teachers, provides 14 lesson plans and nine worksheets that incorporate conversation starters. Materials are available for both children and adults.
The Internet TESL Journal - This Internet TESL Journal Project provides an extensive list of conversation questions for the ESL/EFL classroom. A guide is also included for students and teachers who will be using the provided resources.
Daily ESL - Maintained by Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab, this ESL site is devoted entirely to conversation starters. Students can practice conversations that they might have in the community, at school, at home, on vacation, at work, or during special events.
The International Center - The International Center in New York provides a list of topics that can be used to engage in meaningful conversation online or within a language class. Topics include ideas for cultural exchange.
ESL Flow - ESL Flow offers a large selection of conversation starters and conversation exercises for English students. The site also provides icebreaker ideas for large and small groups.
Conversation Exchange - The Conversation Exchange provides a nice collection of conversation topics that can be used to increase vocabulary and language skills.
Boggle's World - In addition to providing worksheets and other materials for the EFL classroom, Boggle's World also offers conversation starters, surveys, and icebreakers. More than four pages of EFL activities are available.
ESLgold - Students can find many different sample phrases and speaking situations on the ESLgold site. Materials are available for learners at every level.
English Club - The English Club teaches EFL students how to make small talk using conversation starters, practice conversations, and a small talk quiz.
ESL Fast - ESL Fast is the perfect place for EFL and ESL beginners to practice speaking English online. The site offers a robot tutor and a shopping tutor that are ready to practice 2,000+ English conversations on a variety of topics.
A.L.I.C.E. - After registering for an account, EFL and ESL students can have unlimited online chats with Dave the ESL Bot for up to one month.
EllaZ - The Ella bot is an award-winning robot known for being a very human-like computer. Ella is good at making small talk. She also does well with jokes and trivia.
Lang-8 - Lang-8 is a great place to learn and practice English and other foreign languages. Native speakers are available through the site to help you gain knowledge and prefect your writing skills.
LingQ - LingQ is another good place to practice English conversations and get your writing corrected. The site is home to a large worldwide community that can be accessed whenever it is convenient for you.
Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the About.com Guide to Business School. She also writes about online schools for OnlineSchool.net.