#77 Culturally Specific Content / Teaching ( Int.)
I'm a big fan and believer of CST - Culture Specific Teaching (my terminology :).
What it means is that you use the students prior knowledge to help teach English. In this case, their cultural knowledge. This allows the students to have an abundance of "pressure" (knowledge/content) which will really facilitate production of English. This "transference" is a great way to give students confidence in speaking English. They try to explain / produce their own knowledge of their country in English.
I used to teach Adult ESL for the Canadian government. Besides lots of functional language, my curriculum had to also teach about Canada. One of the best/most interesting lessons was to make an acrostic poem about Canada.
First, I'd prepare/engage by having the students watch the Canadian anthem video. These are readily available and contain lots of great images of the country. As the students watch they record/note on paper what they see. Mountains/dances/monuments etc.... Here's the one I've used for Korea! (attached and also in our A/V player)
Then give them a graphic organizer and in groups they can organize their content into semantic categories. Finally, brainstorm as a group on the board.
Next - give students the handout and they fill in and make their own poem about their own country. (Change Korea to your own country!). Use these grammatical prompts or change them for your own. Circulate the room and help students with spelling/prompts/examples.
After that - have some of the students or all, read their poems to the class. Demonstrate how this is done by modeling your own poem! Teachers make the best motivators!
Finally - collect them and edit/correct them. The next lesson hand them back and have the students on a much larger piece of paper, make a bigger poster of their poem and decorate. Hang around the class and school, they'll be very proud.
A great lesson that all levels/students will enjoy!