For many of us teachers, stepping foot on foreign soil, in a country located thousands of miles (or kilometers) away from home, possibly even on the other side of the globe, can be a shock to the senses. We must readjust ourselves – our thinking and our ways of living – in order to now be successful in our jobs. Use this shocking experience to rock the world views of your students. Show them where you come from and what makes your hometown unique, who you are, and what truly defines you.
For example, I put together a PowerPoint slideshow showcasing Seattle, Washington to share with my students. I showed photos from the city; tidbits of information on what makes the city unique (its long-running famer’s market, ferry fleet, sea life in the Puget Sound, iconic monuments such as the Space Needle); information about where I studied (the University of Washington) and what I studied (communication and French studies); and what makes Seattle a great place to reside, different from Montpellier, France where I was teaching.
What was also great about introducing my city to the students, was the opportunity to dispel any misconceptions they may have had about Seattle and broaden their horizons at the same time. Does your hometown have certain stereotypes attached to it? Here’s a chance to set the record straight with English language learners. You can also get over homesickness by sharing what is important to you, and have pride in where you come from.
This hometown lesson can spur discussions among advanced students on what it means to be from one country/culture or another, what makes a certain region unique, or what is similar and distinct about two different hometowns. Younger students can benefit from a group or partner exercise where students interview one another to get to know more about one another’s hometowns. Worksheets with activities to describe one’s hometown can also help students map out their thoughts.
You, as a teacher, are learning about a new culture 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Here’s your opportunity to invigorate and inspire students to learn more about and further develop the way they see and understand the world.