How do you broaden your students’ knowledge of the world around them in the ESL classroom?
In South Korea, it seems as though many of the students have no clue about what’s going on in the world around them. I can understand young learners not knowing because of their age and comprehension level, it would be developmentally inappropriate to teach them something beyond what they can understand, but I have found that many of my elementary and even some of my middle school students are ignorant of the outside world. Not reading the newspaper or watching the news on TV is one thing, but many of these kids have no concept of basic world geography or history. It’s almost like those subjects are neglected in the students’ daily education. I know that this isn’t true for all students in South Korea, but it does seem like a big problem within their education system as a whole. Is this type of problem true for where you teach, if you’re an ESL teacher?
Geography- a fun subject to add-in to lessons.
(The above picture is not my map)
In my classroom, I have a medium-sized poster with all of the countries and their flags tacked up, and that poster is next to large world map. My map has all of the countries’ names in both English and Korean language. If I’m teaching a lesson from a reading book, which talks about something from another country, I have my students find the place on my map. By incorporating teaching aids like maps, pictures, and videos, I try to expand upon the lesson being taught to give the students a greater context to relate the lesson to. I adjust the extra activities to suit the comprehension level of each class, but I still wish for my students to gain a greater understanding of the world around them. To learn a language is one thing, but to use it in the world outside of you is another. I think that by helping students develop the skills to think on a global level, they can better apply what they’ve learned in class to the real world.
If you’re a teacher, what do you do to broaden your students’ knowledge?