Food is always a fun topic to teach English, especially if you have a very multicultural class. The best way to engage the students is to continuously bring the discussion back around to the food and restaurant experience in their country. You will be amazed at what you learn about cultural traditions and different students’ perspectives on the food they eat.
In this article, OnTESOL graduate explains how she supplements the FCE Oxford textbook with communicative activities and authentic material.
About the Author: Clare completed the 120-hour TESOL certificate course.
Lead In Section
Instead of doing the textbook’s #3 discussion activity with students, open the unit with a discussion starting with traditional holidays and the food they eat in their country during certain holidays. I explain Thanksgiving and Christmas in Canada and then have students share with the class
Reading The Great Taste Sensation
Since this reading is divided into two, you can easily do some jigsaw reading with the students.
Discuss #1 from the textbook as a class. Then divide the students up into two groups and give each group the task of reading about one of the restaurants. Explain the activity to students by telling them they’ll be reading about the restaurants and explaining why they are so special to the other group in their own words. Start by giving students a few of the ‘wh’ words to look for when gathering information.
Following this, elicit from students the rest of the ‘wh’ words. Have them work for 10 minutes to gather all the necessary information and then give them 5 minutes to explain their part of the reading to the other group. Make sure that each student works on a different paragraph so that one student doesn’t end up doing all the work. Have groups explain their restaurant to each other. Continue on with the textbook’s questions in #3.
Read: Teaching English Guide
Grammar for Speculating about the Past and Present
There are many ways to encourage students to use modals of speculation. The most effective way is to show students how using modals of speculation is simply another way of saying, “I think” or “I suppose” when you are wondering or guessing about someone’s actions or an object’s function.
Students don’t often think to use modals of speculation, rather they use I’m sure or I think, so showing them real-life examples and comparisons are the best way to awaken them to this structure.
At the end of the listening activity, share your worst and best culinary experience, pre-teaching the word culinary, of course. Then instruct the students to describe their worst and best culinary experience to each other. Finally, I ask students to think of either their favorite dish or their country’s national dishes and recommend them to a partner.
Depending on the availability of a projector, instruct students to either show the dishes on their phone to their partner or search them on google and show the images to the whole class as the student tells the class more about the dish, its flavor and texture, and why they enjoy it so much.
Vocabulary for Food
Give students a list of more food vocabulary to expand their knowledge and to encourage them to think about how to describe food. Instruct students to do the discussion questions from #1 of the listening section while using the vocabulary they just learned.
Make sure to pre-teach value for money, lively, cramped, and trendy, and how they are used in a sentence by giving examples. These are often the more challenging words for students at this level.
Use of Adjective Suffixes
This is a great resource that explains the suffix meanings and provides extra practice for students. I always begin this lesson by writing one noun per suffix category on the board and elicit their word-formation into adjectives from students.
Elicit as many words as you can for each suffix or have them work under a time limit in groups to come up with words for adjectives in each category. Next, teach students the meaning behind each suffix. Have students complete the fill in the blank and the text.
Next divide students into small groups and give each group 15 words with the suffixes learned in the lesson and a table with each column labeled with a suffix. Have students take turns placing the words in their respective columns and making sentences with them. Here is another great food-related word formation activity.
There are many options from here. You could have students perform a sentence race where teams compete to be the first team to write a correct sentence with one suffix on the board. Correct their usage after giving the best team the point. Here is a more in-depth explanation of ESL Sentence Race Game