Family Issues & Family Meeting Speaking Activity (General ESL)

Skill focus: Speaking, general fluency

ESL Level: Intermediate – Upper-intermediate

Overview: Students brainstorm problems family members could have and then role-play a family meeting in which the problems are addressed.

Materials needed: one worksheet per pair

Worksheet Download: family-meeting-general-speaking.docx

Time Required: 45 minutes

This activity is a generalized variant of the family meeting activity I made for practicing the causative (let/get/have/make/help) here. The below activity can be used to review the grammar points suggested on the worksheet, or it can be used for general speaking fluency.

Family Issues Worksheet Preview

Let's talk about the family

Activity Execution & Notes

  1. First, put the students in pairs. Have them do Part A. They should add their own ideas to the boxes. The more creative the ideas, the better. If students can’t think of anything, give some suggestions (e.g. the husband is losing his hair, the son is drinking the husband’s beer, the daughter wants to live with her boyfriend, etc…)
  2. Next, group them with another pair of students to do Part B. In Part B, they first have to decide who will play each role. Once they’ve done this, they use their own ideas (from Part A) as the reasons for holding the family meeting.
  3. Go over some of the useful language and idioms that they can use if their meeting (optional).

Note: You could do Part A in a group of four and then keep the groups the same for Part B. The advantage of this would be that all group members would already be familiar with the problems. The disadvantage might be that the problems, when introduced, won’t be surprising.

Family Problems Worksheet Preview (Web Version)

Part A: Family Issues

In groups of two, brainstorm problems that the people below could have. Think of at least three problems per family member.

1) A mother

–        her husband doesn’t help with the house work

2) A father

3) A teenage daughter

4) A 10-year old son

Part B: It’s time for a family meeting!

Next, pairs should group with another pair, making a group of four. In your new group, each student should take on one of the above roles (mother, father, teenage daughter, or son).

Situation: Your family has many troubles. It’s time for a family meeting!  In a group, each family member should introduce the problems they’ve been having (these are the problems that you wrote above) to their family. As a family, discuss ideas, agree and disagree, and find a resolution for each issue.

(The mother can start the meeting by saying, “Hello. It’s time we spoke about a few things as a family….”)

Useful Language


  • If you made more money, we could afford two cars!
  • I wish you would study more.


  • You’re driving me crazy!
  • You’re a pain (in the ass/butt)!
  • Get off my back!
  • That’s none of your business!

Speaking Activity Wrap-up

After they’ve had their meetings, if there’s time left, I ask teach group to tell me about an issue they discussed and resolved.

I did this activity today and the students had a lot of fun with it. Give it a try!

– Matthew Barton / Creator of (Copyright)

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