If you’re from a country that celebrates Christmas you’ll know how much of a big deal the festive season can be; and what better way to teach your students about the culture you come from than to bring Christmas to the classroom? See, teaching abroad isn’t all about past participles and pronunciation! Read on to find out how to spread Christmas cheer with i-to-i TEFL!
Make Christmas Cards
A great way to bring Christmas to the class when you’re teaching abroad is through Christmas cards; and this is especially popular with young students. They can spend their time decorating a cute Christmas card and write a special message to their family; and the great thing about this is although it’s fun, it tasks student with their writing skills! You could even have them write a letter to Santa – after all, he is a huge part of Christmas!
Teaching students Christmas songs always brings festive cheer – especially ones with cheesy lyrics and bells! ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ is a great song choice as it has simple lyrics that captures the western celebrations of Christmas. Begin by reading through the lyrics together as a class and use concept questions to check understanding and meaning. You could even use actions and tell stories of your own Christmas experiences – students in Asia especially will be fascinated! Add the music, and be sure to dance – yes, you may be having more fun than your students but who cares?!
Loads of decorations will really bring the class to life and you can easily get the students involved. Just be aware that you’re an English teacher, and you need to make sure that any arts and crafts activities give students the opportunity to practice their English. You could for instance, get students to write things like ‘Merry Christmas’ across decorations.
The food really brings together a typical Western Christmas, so why not make some festive treats for your class to indulge in? This could be anything from chocolate truffles to pigs in blankets (although good luck finding bacon and sausages in Asia – and also, be aware of culture, as in the Middle East, pork is forbidden). If you’re teaching adults, you could always give mulled wine a go – guaranteed to go down a treat, just don’t get them drunk!
Who doesn’t like a word search every now and then, especially amongst the under 16s. Use festive words such as ‘Santa’ and ‘Presents’ to test their understanding, and you can ask them to mime each word. For more advanced classes, you could even get them to try and make a word search of their own.
We hope this has enlightened you with some ideas if you are teaching abroad right now; and if you’re not currently overseas, getting excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for you with regards to all-things TEFL. Maybe you’ve got some other ideas that you’d like to share? Please comment below and help out a fellow TEFL teacher this Christmas!