Christmas is here!
It’s the perfect time to think about how we can teach students about Christmas and other celebrations from the English-speaking world.
Students generally are very curious about cultural events they’ve heard of, but maybe don’t know much about. And they love special events!
Here are some suggestions for introducing Christmas to your TEFL classroom (Let’s call it a little Christmas gift from all here at i-to-i)
Christmas is a colourful and joyous celebration. Make sure your lessons are colourful and joyous as well! Bring in decorations, pictures, music and food. Have students sing Christmas songs, and dress up and act out Christmas stories.
Ask Your Students
Ask students what they know about Christmas – much more engaging than lecturing them! Show photographs of Christmas traditions and let students puzzle over what they mean. Give students a Christmas quiz. Show pictures from Christmas stories, and get students work out the events. Have students compare Christmas traditions with their own, and ask them to teach you about their culture.
Play Language Games
There are plenty of great language games and activities on the topic of Christmas. It’s a terrific opportunity to practise days and dates, seasons, country names, and vocabulary related to gifts, families, clothing, colours, weather, emotions and more.
Here are some great Christmas teaching ideas on the Web.
Worksheets and games:
Songs and activities:
Christmas lesson plans:
Some Things To Consider
First, how interested will your particular students be? Your students may be more focused on using English to do business, for example, than finding out what happens in English-speaking countries. Also, young children are clearly more likely to be interested than company executives!
Also, will your students feel you’re imposing British or American cultural beliefs on them? The fact you’re the expert speaker, and are in charge of the class, puts you in a powerful position. Throughout the year give your students just as many opportunities to celebrate, and inform you about, their traditions as well.
And finally I’d stay right away from promoting a religious belief. This is actually illegal in many countries, and could get you and your students into a lot of trouble! Read the environment carefully, and ask local teachers what they think, before you run with your Christmas lessons. (In certain countries even any mention of Christmas may be taboo – take care.)
Having said that – if it’s appropriate, use the Christmas theme to bring colour and excitement to your classroom!
We wish you a TEFL Christmas!
How will you be spending Christmas in your TEFL destination?