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Culture Shock

by Walton Burns | 23 Aug 2013
Resource Description: “In my culture it’s normal...” This well played out lesson plan embraces the importance of considering other’s culture.
Audience: Secondary
Audience Language Proficiency: Intermediate
Duration: 60 minutes
Language Skill: Speaking
Content Area: Comparative culture, life skills
Materials and Technology: "In my culture it's normal..." attached below
Objective(s): This lesson is planned as an introduction to a longer unit on cultural differences and understanding what culture is for a discussion club.
Main objectives:
-to introduce the idea of a culture as it affects behavior
-to give students practice in fluent discussion
-to give students practice in expressing opinion
1. Warm Up
Write the proverb, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
Ask students what they think it means. Take suggestions until students start to slow down or have guessed the meaning. Confirm that it means when you live in another country or culture, you should follow the rules of that country or culture. Ask a few students if they agree or disagree and why. Now introduce the discussion questions by asking students about how they greet people in their culture. Encourage them to be specific about what behaviors they use.
Do they shake hands? Kiss on the cheek? Bow? If students don't introduce the idea themselves, ask them in what situations they might greet people differently. How do they greet a friend? A family member? A boss? An old person?
2. Pair Work
Now break the students into small groups and hand out the discussion questions. This lesson works best if the groups are multicultural so students are learning from each other. Ask them to discuss in their group these behaviors and whether they think they are normal, rude,
polite, impolite or strange (i.e. they rarely happen). Remind them to think about context. Are their situations where they always do these things or never do them?
3. Wrap Up
Once the groups have discussed the questions, ask the class as a whole what the most interesting things they have learned from each other are. Ask if there are any points that they disagreed on strongly and why that might be. Are there regional differences perhaps?
Differentiation: You can use lessons from the Peace Corps workbook, Building Bridges. Students can also do a survey of their friends and family to find out what kind of behavior they view as marking someone as a rude or impolite person and what kinds of behavior they find shows that someone is a polite person.
Useful Links:
Building Bridges:
Uploaded Files: