American Culture ESL Discussion Questions

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

Your ESL students are ready to discuss several aspects of the American culture because they know quite a bit about it. This lesson gives you some questions you can ask so your ESL students freely express their thoughts.

Outside the Box

We often hear people tell us that thinking 'outside the box' is a healthy exercise. When we teach ESL students, they can certainly give us a very different perspective because American culture is new to them. Of course, this also means that your ESL students may say things that sound off or even a bit offensive. However, it is best to keep in mind that our ESL students are still in the process of learning the language, no matter how advanced they are.

Consequently, ESL students can say things that sound wrong or perhaps funny about American culture. Besides the language proficiency limitation, our ESL students may not have all the elements to fairly judge many aspects of American culture. For all of this, let's keep in mind that our main goal is to get students communicating in English. Beyond this goal, our ESL students may surprise us because they are real thinkers from outside the 'box' that American culture is. A great way to lead our students' discussion is to explain their views of American culture by contrasting them with their own culture, as they will probably use it as a reference anyway. Let's look at a few questions.

Different Culture Topics

Below, we have a few questions that relate to the politics and government aspects of American culture. There are a couple of questions that would only work if your ESL students are in the USA. Other questions are great if you're teaching ESL overseas.

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