Exercise 1:

Select an ESOL text book with which everyone is familiar. Which of the following examples of bias do you find?

l. Invisibility of diverse cultures
2. Stereotyping of cultural groups
3. Selectivity and imbalance, including the lack of multiple perspectives
4. Unreal portrayal of contemporary society
5. Fragmentation and isolation of non-dominant microcultures
6. Linguistic bias

This is a group activity to be used during staff development. Two teachers work together. Each pair will get thesame ESOL textbook with which all participating teachers are familiar. Allow 20 minutes to scan the book andrecord the finding for each statement. Then, report the findings to the other pairs. After each report is given, adiscussion by all of the participants should follow.

Exercise 2:

The activities outlined below will help the ESOL teacher to increase his/her knowledge of the Hispanic culture.

* Explore the barrio where your Hispanic students reside.

* Visit Hispanic restaurants, bakeries, shops, local art galleries, theaters, mariachi group and ballet folklorico functions.

* Read local newspapers published in Spanish.

* Watch videos, especially "El Norte," with English subtitles to understand the plight of the Hispanic immigrant.

* Beware of the language you use. Avoid sexist terms. Many words that were previously acceptable to describe racial/ethnic groups are no longer acceptable.

* Pay attention to issues of events where Hispanics are involved, as well as to cultural slurs.

* Take a ride on an inner-city bus. Listen to the conversations and find out how people act and feel without a car.

* Visit a Spanish church service.

* Celebrate a Mexican holiday in class with the students.

These suggestions are offered to build a bridge between the Anglo and Hispanic culture.

Exercise 3

Everyone who knows a second language is familiar with the difficulty of translating slang, colloquial, oridiomatic expressions from one language to another. As language teachers, we are aware of the impossibility ofgiving a literal translation of an idiomatic expression because with its unusual syntactic pattern the wholemeaning of the expression is different than the sum of its parts. The Spanish idiomatic expression No me tomesel pelo (don't pull my hair) would render in English the idiomatic expression "Don't pull my leg," or expressed inthe usual syntactic/semantic pattern, "Don't tease me. " In a staff development session, the ESOL teachers canproductively entertain each other by choosing a verb and trying to come up with several unusual syntacticpatterns, differing from the literal meaning.

The verb we choose here is "to take" which has many different variations in English. It is up to the
participants to find the meaning, expressed with a usual syntactic pattern or semantic.

This exercise can also be used in class. According to the level of the students, the teacher can quiz the students on each meaning of the English expression.

Exercise 4

Nothing serves better for a friendly excuse for conversation and understanding than a collection and translation of old Spanish, orally transmitted sayings. The contact with students of another culture requires some knowledge of some of their sayings. They are, after all, reflections of their ways, customs, and thoughts. The uniqueness of the collection used is that every saying in Spanish is translated verbatim into English. We all know that if we use an English saying or idiomatic expression and try to understand it by its verbatim meaning, it won't make any sense. Participants can break up into small groups to figure out the semantics.

Dios da panuelo al que no tiene narices. God gives a handkerchief to him who has no nose.
Por el agua del cielo, no dejes tu riego. Do not abandon your irrigation, counting on the rains from heaven.

El duelo ajeno, del pelo cuelga.

The grief of someone else hangs from a hair.

No es gallina buena, la que come en tu casa y pone en la ajena.

The hen that eats at your house and lays her eggs at someone else's is not a good hen.

Donde una puerta se cierra, otra se abre.

Where ever a door closes, another opens.

El mal entra a brazadas y se va a pulgadas.

Bad things come in by the armful and leave by the inches.

Cameron que se duerme, se lo lleva el corriente.

He turned himself into honey and he was eaten up by flies.

Exercise 5: Myths

Use the following Hispanic myths in class and have students come up with some more. Also, the ESOL teacher should prepare a list of typical American myths in order to compare the two cultures.

l) During an eclipse, a pregnant woman has to stay home - one glance at the eclipse will cause the baby to be born with a harelip.

2) Another version of the cure for a child's hiccups is: saliva on the forehead while making the sign of the cross over it.

3) If you break a mirror, immediately put it into water; if not, seven years of misery will follow.

4) Don't give salt to your neighbor or spill salt; the consequences are poverty.

5) To find out whether its going to be a girl or a boy, you must do the following: Thread a needle, hold it by the thread over the pregnant mother's stomach. If the needle turns clockwise, it is going to be a girl. If the needle turns counterclockwise, it's a boy.

6) A child can not swim or be in water without getting its hair wet because the body warmth must be evenly distributed over the entire body.

Exercise 6

This exercise will help teachers to learn how intercultural misunderstanding or conflicts can occur. It can be carried out in any size group; split the group if it is too large. It will require 30 minutes or more. Each participant writes down an anecdote, either from personal experience or from someone else's experience. The anecdote should reflect a cultural misunderstanding, failure of cultural communication, cultural confrontation, cultural conflict, or intellectual blockage. The facilitator might start out by giving an example from personal experience. After several anecdotes are read out loud, a participant might be asked how these anecdotes might be relevant to the dynamics of his/her class.

An example anecdote could be: In Juan's village, children do not look an authority figure in the eye when they are speaking. Ms. Jones, his ESOL teacher was not aware of this and when she spoke with Juan, she became offended because she thought he was not paying attention to her.

Exercise 7

This exercise demonstrates the use of stereotypes and one way to break them Break up groups larger than 12 into smaller groups. Pass out an orange to each participant. Each participant is to spend a few minutes finding out all there is to know about the orange without harming or hurting it. The participant is to dream up a biographical sketch of the orange, such as:

"My orange is named Janet. I would like you all to meet her. She is a little green on one side because
that side was away from the sun, and the other side got burned..."

After all the oranges have been introduced to each other, they are to be collected in a bag, then spread from the bag onto a table. Each participant is to find his or her own orange in the shuffled crowd of oranges.

Discuss what happened.

Exercise 8

The objective of this exercise is to give students a feel of what it is like to be in a foreign country without speaking the language. Participants are instructed to act as though no one else in the room speaks their language, and they are to try to communicate with each other through gestures, body language, and nonverbal sounds. After fifteen minutes, the participants will break into small groups and discuss the experience, especially how frustrated they felt and how this experience could help them to understand their Spanish monolingual students during the first weeks in class. It also should be noted here that the Hispanic culture has specific touching taboos. Adults can touch children, men can touch men, women can touch women, however, men cannot touch women with whom they are not intimately acquainted.

Exercise 9

The objective of this exercise is to demonstrate how each participant brings a different perspective to the class room and how different perspectives can cause us to view even simple things differently. The participants break into small groups and are each given a picture. They are asked to write down a description of that picture. When they are finished they will exchange description with the others in their group and read their perceptions of the same picture. A discussion about differences in perception follows.

Exercise 10

The objective of this exercise is to explore the concept of nonverbal communication. The participants break into small groups and compile a list of nonverbal messages (shrug, hands folded across chest, tapping of fingers, etc.) Each message is acted out and participants share with each other how they interpret each particular message.

Exercise 11

Folk Cures (exercise provided by Karen Merritt, Glendale Union High School District from a staff development activity provided by Pat Riggs, Tucson Unified School District)

Ask students to think of a "folk" cure which they have experienced or seen. Define a folk cure ( A possible solution to a medical problem that is NOT from a doctor or nurse. Mention teas, the yerberia.) Provide some sample sentences such as:

If I have a black eye, I put a cold, raw steak on it. Then I go to bed. I feel better soon.

If I burn my finger with my iron, I go into my garden. I cut a piece of aloe vera plant. I put it on my burn. I feel better soon.

Discuss the samples. Ask students what the problem is, what the "folk cure" is and what the outcome is. Ask students to write 3 complete sentences describing a folk cure which they have experienced or observed.

Let students work in small groups to discuss the assignment and give each other suggestions and feedback. A member of each group can read the folks cure(s) which the group has identified. The whole class can discuss the cures which they have written about. You may want to use a T-chart to help students organize themselves.

Problem Cure
Black eye raw steak