My students have the tendency to bring American drama into our class discussions (Prince Harry getting engaged, the latest Kardashian drama, iPhone updates, sports championships). There’s nothing wrong with this (if it’s in the TL). I get it – they talk about what they know. However, it’s our job to turn those conversations into something more.
That’s why I try to base class conversations around culture. This helps students learn about the world and gives me a chance to focus on global products, practices, and perspectives. A conversation in the TL about our lives, our traditions, and our ideas is not enough. It needs cultural connections and global perspectives!
When you find a great resources like this Taringa article, it’s easy to start a conversation at ANY proficiency level and touch on a variety of topics.
It shows 23 different pictures of what is considered beautiful around the world. The best part – it’s not Hollywood.
Lower level classes could talk about eye, hair, and skin colors and which are most common. They could compare clothing styles (Formal vs Traditional). Who looks happy and who is serious? Which picture looks most like American beauty? Why? Which one is the most different? Why?
Upper level classes could get into beauty routines or talk about natural looks vs. make-up. Which countries have conservative styles? Why? How does weather play a role in beauty? Is jewelry an important part of beauty? What is it’s role? Does beauty have an age? What do the pictures tell us about age and beauty?
This would be a good time to create Venn Diagrams or this reading form to compare and share back with the class.
What conversations would you start with these pictures?