The Benefits of Holiday Vocabulary

It’s always great when whatever you’re teaching aligns with what students are excited about. If they have a reason or desire to talk about something a lot, teachers may want to tailor their lessons to that topic. Many ESL/EFL teachers like to do a lesson (or at least a partial lesson) on vocabulary whenever a holiday rolls around. There are lots of fun activities you can do, and plenty of English teacher resource websites (like this one) have worksheets you can download for every major holiday.

Many teachers like to do these on the day of the holiday (or the closest day before, if you don’t have school on that holiday), but we’d recommend getting started a little early. Sure, save the really fun celebratory stuff for the special day, but teach them a bit of vocabulary as much as a week before. You could go just a ten-minute lesson on this if you prefer, of give them something easy to do for homework. If students are familiarized with the vocab and are surrounded by that theme, they’ll have occasion to put that vocab into practice! Introducing the vocab a few days early gives them plenty of time to use it!

You can also include the vocab throughout the week if examples and practice for whatever grammar point you’re teaching. Students are more likely to be engaged if you’re involving something that’s already on their minds.

And finally, holidays are often a good excuse to talk about differences between cultures (in how they celebrate the same holiday in different ways) or to talk about one culture in general (if that holiday is unique to that culture).

Learning works best with student interest and opportunities for application. Holidays tend to be saturated with both of these. Although they are short-lived, it’s a great time to take advantage of the circumstances and enhance your students’ learning!

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