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Culture Events photo 2Successful language learning typically comes from necessity or interest. For kids learning ESL, the necessity of the English language may not appear so obvious to them. Aside from being told that they need to learn by their parents, the English language can seem downright useless to some of our students living in non-English speaking countries. As teachers, sometimes we can’t make our students see the value of what they are learning but we sure can try to keep their interest in it. By working some cultural events into the classroom, we can help our students have a bit of fun and become interested in western culture in ways that may eventually lead to their own sense of value of the language. Here are just a few ideas that you can implement into your teaching which can be educational and exciting for the students and can awaken their sense of interest in learning the language.

Have a Tea Party

teaparty1ESL learners in Asia, especially in China are well aware of the importance of tea. Turn their tea ceremony world upside down when you show them how it’s done by the British and many other English speaking countries. Hear the gasps when you pour the milk into the brew and the delighted smiles after they taste a scone for the first time.
What You Will Need:
• English Breakfast or Earl Grey tea bags
• Milk
• Sugar cubes
• Scones and/or finger sandwiches
• Tea cups, plates, utensils
• Appropriate music
Having a tea party without practicing some English would be a wasted opportunity. Print out some work sheets that include the terminology used during tea, the vocabulary for the items needed and a little background history on how the ceremony came to be.

Cooking Class

Holding an ESL themed cooking class is a fantastic way to get students involved, interested and practicing some English. Choose a popular dish of Western cultures, preferably something more obscure than the pizza and hamburgers they mostly know and love, perhaps Deviled Eggs and Macaroni Salad from America or Meat Pies from the UK. Teach the students the important English words for measurements and how to read and possibly even write a recipe. Let them taste their creations and practice using English to describe what they think about the dish.
What You Will Need:
• Cooking utensils
• Mini oven or mini stove
• Ingredients
• Plates and utensils
• Recipe cards

Holiday Parties

Culture Events photo 3Everyone loves holidays and sharing western traditions with your students is sure to steer their interests into the direction of your teachings. The opportunities for these activities are vast and can be done multiple times throughout the year. Christmas and Halloween are bound to yield an enjoyable time but choosing holidays that students may have never heard of may be even more interesting to them. Fourth of July, Easter, Thanksgiving-regardless of the holiday, just make sure to update them on the history and traditions of the day.
What You Will Need:
-Relevant classroom decorations
-Music that coincides with the holiday
-Traditionally eaten food
-A project or craft that goes along with the holiday
-A reading about the traditions and the origins

Picnic

Your students may or may not have experienced a picnic before, but even if they have, there are sure to be differences no matter which country you go to. Share with them the way that you know and love picnics where you are from. Turn your classroom into a makeshift park and put down a picnic blanket big enough for all of your students to sit around. Bring in a few typical dishes or snacks and come prepared with a song that is well known in your country. You could also think of a few simple games that people often play at picnics and teach it to your students, trying to incorporate as much English as possible.
What You Will Need:
-Large blanket or sheet
-Food/snacks
-Plates and utensils
-Music/Lyrics print out
-Game props/directions print out

Carnival/Fair

Hosting a carnival or fair within the classroom is a great way to get your students interested in learning. Come up with some carnival games that you know and love and incorporate them into ESL games. You can also bring in prizes for the games and set up various stations around the room with different activities. See if you can find or make some of the snacks usually eaten at the fair and bring them along as well.
What You Will Need:
-Game Props
-Snacks
-Signs or dividers to set up stations

If you are looking for a way to mix up your class routine, inspire and interest the students and entertain yourself, hosting one of these events will be sure to accomplish these goals. Just make an effort to incorporate as much relevant English as possible so that you can take advantage of a situation where you will have everyone’s full attention. Make learning fun, that’s really what it’s all about.

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