The Older The Wiser

Type: Vocabulary
Originally published on May 27, 2019 and last updated on May 12, 2023

This topic is an excellent conversation topic for ESL learners because it can help improve their language skills and expand their vocabulary while discussing a common cultural belief. Additionally, it provides an opportunity for learners to engage in critical thinking and analyze the reasons behind the common belief that people get wiser as they age.

Go through the vocabulary below with your students and ask them to try and use this vocabaulry where possible when discussing the different conversation questions.

People Get Wiser As They Grow Older

It is a common belief that people get wiser as they grow older. The idea that old age is the time of life when one becomes most wise has been around for centuries. But what’s the reason behind this? It could be that wisdom is simply an age-old skill and that people learn more as they get older, or it could be something else entirely.

According to some studies, it seems that this might be true. Older adults are more likely to show better decision-making skills, and have a better understanding of their own personality traits and those of other people.

Useful Vocabulary

Try and use the following vocabulary when answering the question. Click to look up the definition in the dictionary

  • experience (noun)
  • generation (noun)
  • pay attention to (idiom)
  • wise (adjective)
  • judgement (noun)

Conversation Questions

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  • What does the word "wisdom" mean to you? How would you define it?
  • Do we get wiser with age?
  • Do you listen to old people in a different way to younger people?
  • Do you think people's opinions are more valid the older they are?
  • What do you think it means to be wise?
  • Do you think old people are wiser? Why?
  • Can young people be wise too?
  • Can someone be wise without having gone through many experiences?
  • How do you think technology and modern advancements have affected the way we perceive wisdom and the elderly?
  • Can you think of any examples of wise people from your country's history or culture? What makes them wise in your opinion?
This conversation topic was prepared by Gregory

Gregory is a qualified TEFL teacher who has been teaching English as a Foreign Language (ESL) for over a decade. He has taught in-person classes in Spain and to English learners around the world online.