Promoting social awareness in the ESL classroom

Yet another topic I’ve been thinking about lately.  Our reading book has a chapter on economics.  The first half of the chapter focuses on poverty and efforts in some countries to provide work for women.  I got a little inspired and checked out this website: The Global Poverty Project.  I’m working with a high-intermediate group of students.

Here’s a little of what we’ve done so far:

First day – We discussed this quote: “Prosperity is a way of living and thinking, and not just money or things.  Poverty is a way of living and thinking, and not just money or things.” — Eric Butterworth, author of Spiritual Economics. Homework: visit the Global Poverty Project website blog and choose a blog post to share with the class.

Second day: Students shared their blog posts in groups.  We practiced oral summaries, and then we discussed some of the issues that came up in their group discussions.

Third day: We watched this video from the blog.  Students wrote down new words, and then they read the article below the blog.  I created a short worksheet with some inference and comprehension questions.  We talked about Nelson Mandela’s quote: “Education is the powerful weapon to save the world.”

We’ve only made it to the third day, but I like where this is going.  We had a great discussion about the power of education and what a positive influence it has had in all of our lives.  I’m trying to think about where to take this next.  Any ideas?

Here are some other interesting links I found related to the Global Poverty Project: Live Below the Line, a Huffington Post article on Live Below the Line (would be too advanced for my students, but perfect for a higher level class)

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