A language classroom is not just about learning the grammar and the vocabulary. It is also about learning the culture or cultures to better understand the language. We all know how food is a fabulous way to get to understand a culture and its people. So what better or more fun way to learn a language than through food?
Today, we share 5 simple and easy tips to incorporate a country or a language’s food culture into your language classroom, your homeschooling routine or your language learning experience.
The key here is the authenticity of the content. Every decent educator will know that to learn a language authentic materials work best and are the most useful. Nobody wants to learn about made-up artificial conversations between a French baker and a customer talking about bagels!
Here are our 5 authentic yet simple tips:
Design Your Own Food Packaging
In a globalised world, it is not difficult to find food packaging containing foreign languages. Just head to your local (ethnic) supermarket and pick something that fits your target language. You get to use the packaging to learn a few words (and taste whatever is inside if it is relevant). Alternatively, next time you are visiting your target language country, bring back food packaging.
Create A Menu
Once again, you don’t need to travel far to find menus written in a foreign language. Either visit your favourite restaurant or check out menus online from restaurants in your target country to get a taste of your favourite dishes.
As an activity, get your students to search for menus, study them and create a brand new one for their very own restaurant.
Role-play: At The Restaurant
You have created your very own menu, all you need to do now is to set up a little role-play with that menu: waiter and customers. Asking questions about the menu, ordering from it, paying the bill are all wonderful authentic practice situations for any language student. Food vocabulary is obviously important here too but you get to add much more to it.
Cook a Typical Dish
Of course, one of the most obvious things you can do to incorporate food into your language lessons is to cook a typical dish from your target country. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy or complicated and if you have no cooking equipment, a salad could work too.
Write Your Own Recipe
If your students are up to it, you could even ask them to write or translate their very own recipe. Imagine you are to cook something typical from your own country for people who only speak your target language. You will need to translate the recipe for them. You could supply them with a recipe or they could make one up. Watch out for translation of weights and measure units! They need to be culturally appropriate too. This is a wonderful activity to do to practice cooking-related verbs too.
Have you got any other tips to add to this list? We would love to hear about the ways you do incorporate food into your language lessons or classroom.
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