Cultural differences and useful phrases (TEFLtastic Classics part 33)

This activity originally started as a solution to a problem with one of my favourite activities, tips and useful phrases. The problem is that students often have no idea what good tips are and so the discussion stage doesn’t always work well. This variation also makes students think about cultural differences without the teacher needing to make sweeping statements about the students’ culture(s).

Give out at least 20 descriptions of communication in different places such as small talk in the UK or gestures around the world like “The weather is a good topic, but it’s best to make strong positive and negative statements and include a tag question to prompt discussion” and “Tap the side of your head to show craziness”. If possible, include accompanying phrases like “Lovely weather, isn’t it?” and “He must be nuts”. Students read the descriptions and mark ones they know to be the same in other places such as their own country with the names of those other countries, e.g. writing “Spain” next to any descriptions which are the same in “Spain”. Perhaps after comparing ideas in groups or as a class, students are then tested on their memories of the useful English phrases that accompanied the tips with a worksheet with just the tips and blank spaces where the phrases were on the first worksheet.

Here are some I prepared earlier:

Photocopiable cultural differences and useful phrases classroom activities

Academic emails cultural differences and useful phrases (in this e-book) – NEW

Emailing cultural differences and useful phrases (in this e-book) – NEW

Ending presentations cultural differences and useful phrases (in this e-book)

Starting presentations cultural differences and useful phrases (in this e-book)

Body of a phone call cultural differences and useful phrases (in this e-book)

Ending phone calls cultural differences and useful phrases (in this e-book)

Starting phone calls cultural differences and useful phrases (in this e-book)

British small talk tips and useful phrases (in this e-book)

Gift giving in the UK tips and useful phrases (in this e-book)

Meeting people in the UK tips and useful phrases (in this e-book)

Socialising in the UK tips and useful phrases (in this e-book)

Working in the UK tips and useful phrases (in this e-book)

Academic writing cultural differences and useful phrases

Academic discussions cultural differences and useful phrases

Meeting people cultural differences and useful phrases

Making arrangements cultural differences and useful phrases

It should also work for:

  • Presentations
  • Meetings and negotiations
  • Job applications
  • Requests and offers
  • Invitations
  • Apologising
  • Small talk
  • Functional language reviews
  • Living abroad/ Moving abroad
  • Business entertaining
  • Gestures and accompanying phrases

some of which I’ve started already. If you’d like to help me have more time to polish up and publish such things, please support TEFLtastic.

Many more TEFLtastic classics here.

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