Four Christmas ideas for learning English in secondary school

Christmas, because of its festive nature, tends to predispose students to acquire vocabulary and develop communicative strategies in a second language.

The arrival of Christmas is as good an occasion as any to work on English content. In fact, festive events or special dates are an opportunity to learn specific vocabulary. At Cambridge House we know how important it is to be able to handle oneself properly in a second language, a key skill for future work and personal development. And, at Christmas time, there are some strategies that we can put into practice with our students to manage content in English related to this time of the year.


Theatre improvisation

Drama improvisation is a very effective strategy for learning a second language. During one of these sessions, the teacher introduces an everyday or fictitious situation, and the students have to continue the scene with the elements that come to mind: a Christmas dinner, an unexpected visit from Father Christmas, a gift delivery, etc. Any thematic context can work. Any thematic context can work.


Video projection

This is a basic element: listening to the language by native speakers, without the need to participate in the conversation, as a mere spectator, is a basic element in learning any foreign language. This activity can be complemented in the classroom on slower days, close to the winter holidays, as a way of relaxing the pressure on the student while still immersing him or herself in the language.


Discussion without teacher correction

The best way to acquire fluency in the foreign language is to jump right into speaking. One strategy to help students lose their fear of using the language is to organise a Christmas-themed debate: is Christmas just a consumerist tool, what are its implications for society, which aspects are religious and which are just tradition? It is important that, during the debate, the teacher’s involvement is merely that of a moderator and does not take on the role of a corrector. On the contrary, it is good to let the student speak without filters. Even if students make mistakes, the important thing about the activity is that they get used to speaking.


Use of social networks

Social networks such as TikTok or Instragram can be an interesting tool for learning English in the classroom. Far from being perceived as a source of distraction, these networks can be useful for reviewing concepts by watching short videos and other posts. For example, exploring together a particular hashtag related to Christmas can be a stimulating activity for teenagers, using applications that are so familiar and appealing to them as a tool.


Gaming apps

Like social media, English language gaming apps can also be an interesting tool in the classroom, which will also lighten up English lessons in the days leading up to the Christmas holidays. Platforms such as Kahoot offer games, quizzes and self-assessment quizzes that are very entertaining and allow you to reinforce what you have learnt over the term.


Christmas, because of its festive nature, its relationship with the family, enjoyment and free time, is a theme that tends to predispose students very favourably when it comes to acquiring vocabulary and developing communicative strategies in a second language.

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