Why should people learn another language if they
are not to leave the place where they were born? Well,
that’s why! Getting to know another language implies
getting to know another culture and getting to understand
our own better in return. Nowadays, the English language
is not only a way of expressing the American, British,
Australian or any other English speaking culture, but
also a means of favoring understanding of other cultures,
for it is through English that we, Portuguese speakers,
can talk about Chinese, Arabian, Indian or Eskimo traditions,
beliefs, way of life; that is, their culture. English
is being used as a means of favoring transcultural understanding.
And it is also through the studying of the English language
that we can discuss issues pertaining all human beings,
and make a link with the world outside the classroom.
When we first started our research, we wanted to know
how we could add Culture to our lessons. We wanted to
work with culture not as an incidental topic because
we were teaching this or that theme or grammar point;
we wanted to really have a lesson on Culture. In our
research on the topic, we discovered that there were
many themes that could be explored (Omaggio Haddley,
1993), and from among many of them, we chose ECOLOGY
and its related sub-themes:
1. Attitudes toward nature
2. Exploitation of nature
3. Use of natural products
And, based on this theme, we planned a series of activities
to work with this worldwide issue, the concern for the
environment and the simple things that one can do to
help save the Earth, and to link the classroom to the
In this article, we will describe this series of activities.
They have been developed with two goals in mind. First,
we aim at having our learners become conscious of thei
own behavior and of other people’s behavior towards
Nature. And we also want our learners to be aware of
what he or she can do in order to help save the planet,
what attitudes and behavior they should change in their
daily lives to begin doing their part in helping healing
the world we live in.
Second, we want these learners to become prepared to
write an essay on this theme, that is, on the simple
things they can do to help save our planet. This is
the first lesson of a series of 5 classes of the Writing
Process. In this particular class, we will be working
with pre-writing activities and techniques at the Composing
Phase (which is the gathering of ideas).
THE SERIES OF ACTIVITIES
1. ENLARGING YOUR VOCABULARY
• The teacher sets up the first activity by
writing the word ENVIRONMENT in the center of the
• In small groups, the learners brainstorm
around this word, and the teacher leads groups to
think of words and expressions that deal with development,
threats, effects, and other related words. Some of
the expressions they should come up with are:
• Then, the teacher with the help of the learners,
writes the words and expressions they have thought
of according to the category it belongs to form a
2. GETTING AWARE
The next step is to show the video clip “Earth
Song” with Michael Jackson, where learners can
identify some of the threats that man is making against
Earth and their effects on its Environment.
• Before Learners watch the video, the teacher
writes on the board:
o What threats/effects can you identify? Check
from the list on the board.
o What’s the message conveyed?
• Then, the lyrics of “Earth Song”
(handout 1) are discussed through the following
o What about us? Do we give it a damn?
o How friendly are we to our planet?
o Is it possible for us to do something as individuals?
o How much are we committed to helping save our