Cultural Globalisation

"One day there will be no borders, no boundaries, no flags and no countries and the only passport will be the heart."

Carlos Santana, Mexican musical artist
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This free ESL lesson plan on cultural globalisation has been designed for adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

“Do what the locals do” every travel guide tells you. Well these days, the locals are invariably eating Big Macs and drinking coffee in Starbucks. Colombian children are dressing up for Halloween, and Korean children are getting excited in anticipation of Santa Claus’ visit at Christmas. Globalisation, like it or not, has changed cultural practices around the world. Most of these cultural influences come from the United States in the form of products, Hollywood films or TV shows. But Halloween and Christmas trees didn’t originate in the United States, showing that cultural globalisation can be a two-way street. However, to the dismay of many, it all too often is a one-way superhighway. In this ESL lesson plan on cultural globalisation, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as how globalisation affects national culture, who is responsible for this, and whether it is a positive or negative development.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, which takes place in May. For more lesson plans on international days and important holidays, see the calendar of world days to plan your classes for these special occasions.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.

PRE-CLASS ACTIVITIES

Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

BBC | Does globalization mean we will become one culture?

The article explores the evolutionary reasons why different national cultures emerged and asks whether globalisation will eventually lead to a homogenisation of these different cultures. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was said? Can they think of any ways they might disagree with the content of the article?

Video activity
To save time in class for the conversation activities, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below and answer the listening questions in Section 3 of the lesson plan at home. The questions for the video are styled in a way similar to an exam like the IELTS.

The video for this class is called “Globalization and culture” by Robert Van Krieken, Professor of Sociology at the University of Sydney, which looks at how culture spreads around the world, and where it usually comes from.

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES

The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means and if they agree with it. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including how globalisation has affected the students’ national culture, which cultural imports are available, and how the internet and social media have contributed to cultural globalisation.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with cultural globalisation such as interconnected, global village and Americanise. This vocabulary has been chosen to boost the students’ knowledge of less common vocabulary that could be useful for preparing for English exams like IELTS or TOEFL. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the listening questions. Before checking the answers, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about cultural globalisation. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as whether they consider themselves to be global citizens, the ideas and values spread by globalisation, and whether it would be better if all the world had a single culture.

HOMEWORK

After the class, students will write about their opinion of cultural globalisation. This could be a short paragraph or a longer piece of writing depending on what level the student is at. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise and improve their grammar with the feedback from their teacher. For students who intend to take an international English exam such as IELTS or TOEFL, there is an alternative essay question to practise their essay-writing skills.

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