Something new here for the teachers who visit the website: We’ve been to Cambridge Day 2013 in São Paulo – the special edition, and even though it was a full house I know many of you couldn’t be there, so I’ll post here some of the highlights of the event.After a nice warm up, Professor John Corbett took the stage to deliver his talk on Intercultural Language Activities.
The intercultural aspect of learning a language can help a lot, not only in communicating with natives, but also by lowering barriers students may have against learning the language. It is a great way to show how a language – English – can be present in the local culture, even if you’re not traveling abroad.
Some interesting ideas he mentioned:
Exploring Signs in English
It’s a good idea to have students go around the city and check the signs that use the English language in Brazil. Have them analyze the sighs:
- what signs use English?
- Are there signs in other languages too?
- Is this use of english or other languages recent, or has it happened for a while?
Loafing and Lurking
This activity is great for students learning about a culture when they are abroad, it is actually, nothing more than going to a cafe and paying attention to other people and making notes while students are there eating.
- What is the place like?
- Do cafe employees wear a uniform?
- What do people do there?
- What kind of people go there?
- How is the process for purchasing the coffee?
- What is the expected behavior?
Such questions can bring some interesting insight on the local culture.
Exploring domestic spaces
Another great idea for when students are abroad or come from different backgrounds is comparing homes in the different countries. What is there, what is different in home layouts? Is there a reason for those differences?
Building online communities to explore culture
With all new social networks online it is getting easier and easier to have your students meet online and exchange experiences with foreign students of English, so they can exchange experiences.
A website he recommended was www.epals.com that has many interesting resources.
If you are interested in learning more about intercultural language education, a great resource is Professor Corbett’s blog: Loafing and Lurking
Probably my longest post here and it was only the first part… coming up: Michael McCarthy, ONG cidadão Pró-mundo e Michael Tomlinson (with a video) .