Language and culture are connected at the hip, however cultural competence is often overlooked and under-covered when teaching English.

This week we will use one of our sets of flashcards to storyboard dining etiquette in a Japanese restaurant (the examples are meant to be very light and basic though we will touch on and cover cultural competence in varying degrees later on)

This blog references and uses material from the Pocket Passport storyboard library. This particular set was created to talk about and explain dining.

The example stories that I am referencing and including links to merely touch on a couple of methods to teach this lesson. There is a myriad of ways to use these flashcards.

These stories (the pre-made stories that I am using as an example) can be used by any level students. These are two examples of a very beginner and an intermediate lesson to show the level of English that might be expected and how the language can be scaffolded if teachers choose to create their own lessons (create their own vocabulary lists, scripts, listening, vocabulary and grammar exercises).

There are infinite possibilities of how and for what level classes/courses they can be used for.

Just a few examples…

For beginner level students, have them point to each card and model what the character is saying. For a warm-up to the lesson ask them to flesh the characters out. Elicit a name and basic backgrounds for each of the characters.

A few examples of some warm up questions are:

1.  What is (his/her) name?

2. Where is he/she from?

3. Why is he/she here?

4. What is he/she doing?

5. How long will he/she stay?

Brainstorm feelings, greetings and common expressions that people use in a restaurant. For lower level students it is okay to elicit it in Japanese since one of the objectives is to ask them to explain their culture and customs in English.

You should deter your students from using sweeping generalizations like, “we Japanese…” and instead teach them more common ways to introduce their understanding of their culture such as, “In Japan it’s common…” or “Some people in Japan…” etc.

Here is an example of the language we might expect to come from a low-level student. 

Here is an example of the language we might expect to come from a low- intermediate to intermediate level student.

A few sample flashcards 

Other Ideas:

– customs of dining in Japan

– comparing Japan and other countries dining etiquette

– greetings, meanings of greetings at a restaurant that serves dishes that  are not from an English speaking country

– customs and taboos of dining (from anywhere)

– conversation sketching and storytelling

Our extensive library can be used in a variety of fun and innovative ways to explain a number of things including: health and nutrition, social responsibility, environmental issues, cultural awareness, communicative competence, respect and manners as well as to build creativity and imagination with our fairytale and science fiction storyboards.

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*Pocket Passport’s storyboard sets are made up of between 4 and 30 flashcards per set and touch on a variety of themes and topics.

**In addition to our storyboard sets we have over 2000 vocabulary building flashcards which can also be storyboarded.