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ESL Culture Lesson Plans


ESL Culture Lesson Plans Never underestimate the importance of a good lesson plan.

ESL culture lesson plans aren't always easy to get right but they can be great for you and your students.

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Why are culture lessons good for your students?

If you are teaching students in an English-speaking country, they will want to know about the culture of the country they are living in.

Students in other countries will also have an interest in English-speaking countries' festivals and culture, as they may want to visit or live there in the future.

Integrated, or blended, learning is becoming very popular in ESL/EFL fields.

This is where students learn the language through materials which teach other subjects such as history, geography, or literature.

Culture is one area where integrated or blended learning can take place.

A typical lesson plan

Although there are many different teaching methods and lesson plan formats, a typical lesson plan will include a warm up activity, some kind of presentation, and then student activities.

If you are doing a lesson plan on Thanksgiving, for example, you could include a warm up activity that introduces some of the vocabulary the students will need later in the lesson.

You could then provide reading texts and do a jigsaw reading activity with the students.

After that, you could get the students to write (or speak) about what they are thankful for.

That is a very simple lesson plan, but is typical of the format for lessons about culture and festivals.

You could do similar lessons about Christmas, Easter, school and education, stereotypes, national foods, and many more subjects.

Involving grammar

Grammar may not be your main focus if you are doing a lesson about culture, but it can be quite easy to incorporate into a lesson.

For example, if you are using a reading text, pick out a tense that is used and do a grammar presentation on it.

Other ways to use texts about culture

Whilst jigsaw readings are great, gap fill exercises can also be useful.

  • Take out words from the texts the students are reading, and ask them to fill in the missing words.

  • Ask students to summarize longer texts.
    This is particularly useful for more advanced students, and longer texts.

  • Cut up the texts, place the pieces around the room, and get the students to find all the pieces in the set and put them in order.

Things to be aware of

Be careful of cultural or religious sensitivities.

Being culturally aware is extremely important when you teach English as a foreign language, whether you are teaching in your country, or elsewhere.

Students may have completely different ideologies and beliefs than you.

Students from some countries may have been taught about historical events from a different perspective.

If it becomes obvious that their opinions are different, it is important not to argue with them but calmly explain that there are different points of view and that the one you are presenting is the most widely held in your country.

If you are culturally sensitive and follow general lesson plan rules, then you should be able to create great lesson plans for students and tell something about your culture too.

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