Delta Publishing Catalogue

Culture in our Classrooms

Teaching language through cultural content


Authors: Gill Johnson, Mario Rinvolucri

ISBN: 9781905085217

Series:Delta Teacher Development Series

Culture in our Classrooms acknowledges the role of culture in the English Language Teaching classroom and provides lesson content which is relevant, useful and engaging for students. Over 80 practical and easy-to-use communicative activities will help your students:

  • become aware of the target-culture norms and behaviours
  • understand better their own and other beliefs and values
  • see beyond stereotypes and empathise with other cultures

Culture in our Classrooms contains three distinctive parts which focus in turn on theory, practice and development:

Part A:

Examines definitions of culture. The authors examine the beliefs behind behaviours, and reflect on the inextricable link between culture and language – suggesting that culture as ‘classroom content’ involves students on many levels, enabling them to communicate about something deep, compelling and worthwhile.

Part B:

Contains a wealth of activities which encourage critical thinking in students and communication between students. They involve students in reacting and reflecting, sharing and comparing – and are grouped into four chapters which foster cultural awareness, focus on the cultural connotations of language, formulate thinking frames for study and, finally, fix their attention on an English-speaking country.

Part C:

Approaches culture in the context of Teacher Development and provides 16 practical exercises for staffroom sessions. The exercises span four major skill areas for personal and professional improvement – observation, listening, rapport building and empathy.

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# Name Type Size
# Name ISBN
# Name Type Size
1Contents.pdf355.06
2Introduction B.pdf81.37
3Introduction C.pdf46.79

Gill Johnson

I’m Gill Johnson and I’ve been a teacher and trainer of EFL for over twenty years. My first job, post CELTA, at the age of 22, was in a prison, where I taught English to foreign inmates. It was a baptism of fire and I certainly learned to be creative and think on my feet there!

Later, I joined IH Hastings, where I became interested in humanistic methodology and trained as a CELTA trainer. You may think these two things are diametrically opposed, but they’re not!

In 1994 I started working for Pilgrims (thanks to Simon Marshall). It was here that I really began to develop as a teacher and trainer. It was also where I met and began working with Mario Rinvolucri and in fact, many of the authors on this website. I shared with Mario my lifelong interest in culture and the influence it wields on our lives. We exchanged stories, experiences and the dialogue began to take shape, culminating in our new book, Culture in Our Classrooms.

Apart from writing with Mario, I work in an international boarding school, near Hastings, where I teach French and English and manage a busy languages dept. In my holidays I’m either to be found working on Pilgrims’ teacher training programmes, or somewhere on the other side of the planet, running CELTA courses and teacher training workshops. I enjoy speaking at conferences and when I’m not doing any of these things, I like to relax at home, entertaining guests, or spending time with my very patient husband, ‘hanging out’ with my (now grown-up) children, reading, chatting and chuckling with friends…. or sleeping!

Mario Rinvolucri

As Gill Johnson and I have written Culture in our Classrooms for the new Delta Teacher Development Series, it is sensible to think back over my life in terms of culture things.

Born 1940……my father locked up in 1940 by the British for being Italian until 1943 when Italy changed sides in the war. My mother was half German and half Liverpool.

My father would dunk his bread in his morning coffee. My mother forbade me to ever do so vulgar a thing.

My father flew off the handle rather easily…..my mother was expert at sulking in response to his very short bursts of anger. Southern expression of anger in face of Northern inability to cope with anger expressed.

I was brought up with a confused sense of relativity about cultural behaviours and beliefs.

At the age of 23 I went to live in Greece and realised how shallow my cultural relativism was. The phrase “pame parea” or “let’s go together” began to stifle me. I could not cope with intense Greek sociability and I began to realise what an extreme Western individualist I was and am.

At the age of 31 I went to live in Southern Chile. I thought I was in a country like Italy where anger bursts forth and is expressed. Not in Germanic + Mapuche Southern Chile. My fifth year University students went on strike to demand lower pass marks and I had not seen this one coming….I had had no inkling of it. I could not read the signs.

The cultures I have come into contact with since my 30’s have contributed to making me aware of the limits of my original Germano-Italian-English presuppositions, prejudices, beliefs and behaviours. To become half aware of how culturally tiny you are is already some way to becoming a culturally open human being.