5 Minutes Prep - 2 Hour Interactive Lesson!
I've taken a moment to make a test of English for you, the ESL or EFL teacher, for fun! Let's see how well you do! Simply choose the correct collective noun.
Discussion of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms can make for an interesting lesson in an intermediate ESL class. Students often assume freedom of expression is the right to say anything about any person or about the government. Here’s where you can let them know about libel laws and Canada’s Hate Speech Laws. Unlike the United States, the Criminal Code of Canada prevents “hate propaganda”. Is this a good thing? Why do we have those laws?
In adult immigrant ESL classes, within a health unit, many teachers touch on the subject of dental care. I highly recommend a visit to an actual dentist’s office, if you can arrange it. My dentist Dr. Marcy Schwartzman was kind enough to allow a visit to her dental clinic for my intermediate ESL students, many of whom had never been to a dentist in their lives.
The most common ESL classroom activity for the first class back after New Year’s is writing resolutions. It’s a great writing activity for beginner level classes, as they practice the future tense and can make for some fun reading if they are posted in the classroom.
Imagine you were teaching abroad for a year's exchange in the country of Slavarnia, spending part of your time in classes learning the language of Slavar. It's not a real country so follow along with this hypothetical example, if you will. The biggest holiday of the year was called Glistin. Stores were closed and there were two stat holidays associated. Hallmark had come in and commercialized Glistin significantly, creating a large gift giving fairy as the main character. But actually, the roots of the holiday were religious. When the subject of the holiday came up in class, you read and played games centred around the Hallmark fairy, but you learned nothing about the historical and religious origins of the holiday. Apparently, the school was concerned about religious proselytizing and so kept the focus on the secular aspects. As a result, you remained in the dark about half of the holiday's significance. You had no interest in converting your religion, but just wanted to understand what was behind the holiday. How would you feel?
One of the most important things we can do as ESL teachers is to help our students crack the cultural code. Gift giving has a lot of unspoken rules which may seem inscrutable to newcomers. Unconvinced? See if you were aware of these cultural attitudes to gift giving in other cultures:
I’ve heard some teachers say that their students were not interested in participating in Halloween. Many others feel that malls are safer locations for children to go trick or treating these days. Here’s a true story of an adult ESL student of mine from Taiwan and her first Halloween here, to illustrate my view that the neighbourhood tradition of trick or treating is a worthwhile one we should teach students about.
With September being back to school time, it's a great time for a field trip to the library. This is a destination that can work well for any class from beginner to upper intermediate ESL.
If you are teaching ESL to immigrants or EFL to VISA students and the topic of Labor Day in the United States or Labour Day in Canada comes up, you may find that your students also celebrate a day for workers in their home countries, but that day is usually on May 1st. A national holiday in over 80 countries, May 1st is also celebrated unofficially in many more.
If you're like me, you like to teach your food unit during the summer when the grocery stores are full of fresh produce and farmers' markets are in full swing.