Cultural focus – Spain
Having taught English for a long period of time, I have noticed that when teaching culture we tend to focus on English speaking countries. This is certainly valuable if we wish to enable our students to e.g. get to know the basis of the social meanings and usages of words, especially when the language is idiomatic. I feel, however, that exposing learners to cultures outside of English speaking world can not only widen their linguistic repertoire, but also increase their cultural awareness and promote cross-cultural interaction.
So why not be adventurous for once and introduce the students to the Spanish culture! English is all you need to travel the world!
Level(s): (B1) Intermediate/(B2) Upper-Intermediate
Aimed at: Teenagers/young adults/adults
Aims: Speaking/Listening and viewing material with sound effects typical of Spanish culture/Vocabulary in the context of Spanish cultural symbols/Authentic reading/Encouraging reading outside the classroom
Materials: Handout 1
Time: +/- 60 min
Points 1 and 2 of this lesson plan are based on the original idea taken from a Resource Books for Teachers series – Cultural Awareness (Tomalin & Stempleski, 1993, OUP) Truly recommend it!
- Write the following on the board:
Two people a crowd of people
- Have the projector, or just laptop, and YouTube video on and ask the students to face the wall so they can´t see the image. Explain that they are going to hear some sounds typical of a popular holiday destination. Their task is to think about what the sounds mean and where the scenes take place. Using the clues on the board have students discuss the following questions in pairs:
- Where is it?
- What language can you hear?
- How many countries in the world speak it? Can you name them? Around 20/Mexico, Spain, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Venezuela, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Cuba, Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Paraguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Panama, Uruguay.
- What time of day is it?
- Can you hear people or machines?
- Are the sounds natural (e.g. rain) or electronic (e.g. car horns)?
- How many people can you hear?
- What are the people doing?
- Can you understand what they are saying? Students can understand words like TAPAS, FLAMENCO.
- Play the video with the image now so that the students can check their answers. Have a brief class feedback.
Ask the students to work in small groups now and make a list of Spanish stereotypes for the following categories:
Have their ideas listed on the board and add some of your own ideas to their lists. Take it as an opportunity to introduce vocabulary, e.g. tapas or flamenco (Spanish borrowings). At the end of this activity you should have something similar to this on the board:
- Have a whole class discussion on stereotypes using the following questions:
Why do you think people stereotype?
Do you think it is a good idea to stereotype? Why/Why not?
Can stereotypes be offensive?
What are the stereotypes of your country? Are they fair?
- Tell the students that they are going to look at 12 stereotypes about the Spanish that are totally not true. Have the stereotypes from Handout 1 placed around the room (stick them to walls/board/windows etc.). Tell the students that certain words have been deleted form the text (students use dictionaries if needed). Have them work in pairs and walk around the classroom reading the parts of article in order to complete the stereotypes with the missing information. Have the deleted words written on the board in random order:
Native hardly controversial prohibited majority retired undoubtedly dish cuisine foreigners Spaniards contrary tan light churches secular inhabitants (x2) reside throughout truth filled capable heat beset frost global athlete proud tournaments
- Have a brief class feedback.
- Have the following quote written on the board:
If the Spanish show off at all it is through noise, preferably at night to make sure that everyone is aware that they are still around.
Discuss it briefly with the whole class and tell the students that it has been taken form the Xenophobe´s Guide series about the Spanish. The guides take a humorous look at different nations, their views and values.
Encourage them to read the one about the Spanish for free here: http://issuu.com/xenophobes/docs/spanish
Is your country part of the series? Find out, read and see if you agree!