This is a relatively easy exercise to understand but can be used at all levels.
- Print several flags to countries you think the learners don’t know and distribute them to the learners. They should not show their flag to their classmates.
- As homework tell them to find out which country the flag belongs to. Then have them read about the country. For low levels suggest “simple wikipedia” instead of the normal one. Also encourage them to watch youtube videos about the country or browse newspaper articles (google search the NEWS tab and the country). They can make some notes about the country.
- In the next lesson, ask each learner to show their flag. The other learners should ask any questions (other than What country is it?) to get more information. For lower levels you can elicit/board some question prompts such as “Is it in Asia/Europe/Africa/South America?/Do the people speak English?/Is it cold/hot/wet/dry? etc.
- Once they have guessed the flag, the person who researched can give any additional information they learned about the country.
- Optional follow up: Have the learners write a text about the country, this could be a) a summary b) a comparison to their own country or c) another topic related to the country
1-1: This activity can be adapted in that you should give the learner several flags (3-4) and follow instructions as above. The trainer should also participate with 3-4 flags.
This is good for B1-C2 levels especially when discussing intercultural communication, but also when discussing modal verbs for advice and obligation.
- Print out (or better, have the learners research) a few culture tips from a website. These could be tips on body language, how to address someone, punctuality etc.
- For large classes, have the learners work in pairs or small groups. For small classes, have them work individually.
- Ask them to read the information you give them (or that they find) and write 4 sentences about the culture they are assigned. For example, if a learner is assigned Japan, they might write: 1. You should always take off your shoes when entering a Japanese home. 2. Japanese people bow when they meet each other. How long and how low they bow depends on the amount of respect they want to show. 3… etc. However, tell them that of the 4 culture tips they write, ONE MUST BE A LIE.
- Now, have the pairs work with another pair (or individuals with other individuals, or if it is a very small group, do it as a whole-class exercise) and read their culture tips to each other. The other pair (or individual) should guess which one is a lie and why.
Alternative: Ask the learners to write the sentences on cards (tip per card). Then they stand up and find a partner and tell their four tips. If the person does not guess the LIE, they have to take a card from their partner (so now one person will have 5 cards and one will have 3). This means that there may be multiple LIES or NO LIES in each telling. The object is to get rid of all your cards, if possible. Make sure the learners write T or F in the corner of the card so if they are swapped the new owner of that tip knows the correct answer.
1-1 This can also work for 1-1 situations, but then the learner must research a culture and the trainer must research a culture (in the lesson or at home).
This exercise will open discussions on similarities and differences among cultures and raise awareness of different cultures. Of course you can then discuss how the learners would react in each situation as well.