I can see I'm blocking up (filling) the blogosphere so I'm going to retitle the culture lesson plans I'm offering as TEACHING ACTIVITIES. So BLOG 1-9 are all Teaching activities with lesson plans.
SYNERGIES AND DIFFERENCES is a great way of finding out about students' cultural perceptions and misconceptions and better still it requires no preparation! Do it for about 15 minutes, perhaps as an introduction to the study of a particular topic in the textbook.
1 Divide the class into 'buzz' groups (loosely formed groups of students in talking or listening distance of each other).
2 Select a topic (maybe from the textbook), for example 'housing'.
3 Set the following task.
'Find two synergies (two things the same) and two differences (Two things that are different) between us and them'.
(e.g. Housing in China and housing in the UK).
3 The students discuss and agree on the two most important synergies and differences for each group.
4 Elicit the synergies and differences from each group. (If you want, you can summarise them on the board.)
e.g. Most British people live in thatched cottages. (Not true, but I've heard students say it.)
You can drink the water from the tap in British houses. (True)
5 Get them to study the text and see if their perceptions are confirmed or challenged.
6 Discuss the students' synergies and differences. Confirm the correct perceptions and correct the misconceptions.
7 Students check how their perceptions of Britain have changed or been re-inforced as a result of the exercise.
NOTE: Depending on the 'English Only' policy of the school, the students might find it easier to do the activity in L1 but they should always report their conclusions to the class using L2.
In TEACHING ACTIVITY 11 we'll show you how to make a cultural presentation interactive.