Images As Conversation Starters

Images can be a really effective, low prep way of getting students interested in a subject. All you need to do is show them a picture and get them to discuss their reaction to it. With the right choice of photo, you might even get a full lesson out of it.

I like to collect images which I think will be thought-provoking, challenging and perhaps a bit mysterious. Below is a collection of some of these images which you might find useful, along with their back story so you know the context behind the picture.

You can download a powerpoint with some of these images and discussion questions here.


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The funeral of Karen Lloyd who was buried in a Costa coffee coffin because of he love of latte's. See SWNS story SWCOFFEE; A latte lover who lost her battle with cancer was laid to rest in a COSTA COFFEE-inspired coffin. Brave Karen Lloyd was known amongst her friends and family for her love of shopping and caffeine. So when the mother-of-two recently passed away, it was decided she would be given a fitting send off. Karen, 51, had a specially made Costa Coffee-liveried coffin made, with the words ‘one shot, extra hot skinny latte’, written underneath.

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fence pic

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Flags made of food

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Picture words


Rembrandt - Night Watch

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Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 21.43.18

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Screen Shot 2012-07-16 at 18.25.59

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The World As We Know


An all natural banana

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8 thoughts on “Images As Conversation Starters

  1. Thanks for this James…. I’ve seen videos used a lot as conversation starters as well – but I think for some reason watching videos numbs the students sense of participation whereas pictures keeps them more ‘ with you’ in the classroom… do you see that as well..?

    1. You might be right. Of course it depends on the video or image used, but with the speed that a simple image gives you, it’s easier to maximise the impact of an image which is particularly important at that stage of the lesson.

      1. I agree, I think the speed at which pictures are readily captured by the eye makes it a much more stimulating exercise. Thanks, I will use these in the classroom – great!

  2. This kind of material is particularly useful as apart from working really well in class it also saves so much time looking for interesting images. Thanks very much!

  3. Thank you, as I was struggling to find visual material to stimulate a 13 year old in one-to-one speaking classes. These are just great! 🙂

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