(This posting includes a handout which you are welcome to use with your students.)
Why do Asians often seem so shy in social situations compared to westerners?
To illustrate how the subject of cultural differences is the best subject, I’ll include a reading passage about this followed by discussion and writing activities related to this.
This “shyness” topic is an effective one for demonstrating the important aspects of this “best” subject:
- The students are coming with a schema. Most students are aware of this “shyness” perception, so it’s not necessary to spend a lot of time on background information. They can get to the “meat” of the situation quickly, which is basically, why is there this perception.
- The topic is relevant. Most Asian students have experienced social situations with westerners in which they felt hesitant to engage in a conversation. And many western students have observed this.
- The reason for this phenomenon is counter-intuitive. In the attached reading passage, the common assumptions about this are shown to be inaccurate.
- Students are highly motivated to discuss and write about this topic. They are interested in sharing their experiences and hearing others’ experiences with it. And they are inspired to explore the topic more in writing.
In this attached sample, Shyness in Cultural Differences Kehe there are four activities:
Preview Questions, in which students are asked a question related to their experience with the topic.
Study Guide Questions
Preparation for Discussion, in which students think about how they would respond to some question during the discussion part of the lesson.
This sample comes from Cultural Differences by D. & P. Kehe, Pro Lingua Associates, 2014. Cultural Differences. It’s actually a excerpt from a unit titled “Forming in-groups.” If you are interested in reading the rest of that unit and seeing the complete study guide, please use the “contact” function to let me know.
In the posting for Part 1 of The Best Subject,, Best Subject for an ESL Integrated-Skills Class (Part 1 Overview) I gave an overview of using this topic.
In Part 3, I’ll share discussion activities about this “shyness” topic for both small group and whole class.
In Part 4, I share an activity that demonstrates how the information in the reading passage can be applied to writing-skill development.