ESL Discussion Questions about Ethics

Instructor: Sarah Mills

Sarah is an educational freelance writer and has taught English and ESL in grades k-12 and college. She has a master's degree in both Literacy and TESOL.

In this lesson, teachers will discover some discussion questions about ethics that can be used with English as a second language (ESL) students to help them practice their speaking skills.

Discussing Ethics

One of the best ways to learn English is to practice it as much as possible. ESL students often acquire much of their vocabulary just from being immersed in an English-speaking environment. The more they practice and absorb the language, the more proficient they become.

As a teacher, you can help students acquire English proficiency by facilitating student discussions. Students sometimes enjoy discussing ethical topics, where there are no right or wrong answers, but lots of perspectives and opinions. Let's take a look at some discussion questions you can use to encourage conversation with ESL students.

General Questions About Ethics

  • What are ethics?
  • What qualities does an ethical person have?
  • What are some of the characteristics of an unethical person?
  • What is the difference between ethics and morals?
  • What is an ethical dilemma?
  • What are some examples of unethical business practices?
  • What are some examples of unethical journalism practices?

Attitudes and Experiences

  • Who is the most ethical person you know? Why?
  • Do you consider yourself to be an ethical person? Why or why not?
  • Is it wrong to steal food to feed a starving family?
  • When is it okay to steal?
  • When is it okay to lie?
  • Have you ever cheated on a test or during a board game? If not, why? If so, how did it make you feel?
  • Give an example of something you believe is very unethical.
  • Give an example of something many people think is unethical but you think is okay.
  • Are there any companies or corporations you think are unethical? If so, why?
  • What do you think is the most unethical career?
  • What do you think is the most ethical career?
  • Should parents always be honest with their children?
  • Does a person need religion in order to be ethical?
  • Have you ever had an ethical dilemma? If so, what was it, and how was it resolved?
  • Do you always follow the rules? Is it ever okay to break them?

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