3 May 2013

Biographies and the Web Genie

As a language teacher, I sometimes have the opportunity to talk about culture in the classroom. Not the narrow meaning/s of culture/s, but the broader, richer concept of culture. I never fail to be fascinated with the initial points of references which students share and then watch their perceptions unfurl and grow, taking in the wider understandings of what culture may be. 

One characteristic, has to be the contribution of individuals towards the social environments and cultures they lived in. From poets to architects, from scientists to philosophers, these individuals contributed to the shaping of a particular culture, their influence often transcending borders and points in time. 

Bio True Story offers a wealth of biographies; for example, did you know that James Brown was born today in 1933? Did you know that 3rd May was also the day that Margaret Thatcher became the first female prime minister of the UK?

You can find a wealth of stories about people from the past as well as people whose names will be familiar today; there is also a Biography Quiz which learners can play individually or in pairs.

Best of all, is that language learners need to practice their verb tenses, especially  the past tenses. They may also focus on modal verbs and future tenses, if they are set an assignment about which famous person they would invite to their homes - possibilities are endless and may be tailored for many levels and contexts.

To wrap a lesson, students can then challenge each other with
Akinator, the web genie (also for iPad), or if there is a really courageous student, let them be the class genie!

Further references:

Biographies of Famous Explorers

Famous Scientists


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