It’s that time of the year again: many parts of the Western world are gearing up for Christmas. And even in Thailand, first signs of it are already visible. Visitors to malls and shopping centers all over the country marvel at the beautifully decorated Christmas trees, complete with colorful wrapped gifts underneath. There is hardly a child growing up in Thailand today that doesn’t know about Santa. But how much do they really know? A great opportunity for English teachers to teach some new vocabulary and traditional Western culture.
A web search will find numerous poems you can read together with your students; a great way to expand vocabulary. One of my favorite Christmas poems is Christmas Senses, because it uses all five senses to describe many of the things we associate with Christmas.
A great way foster the creativity of your students is through arts and crafts projects. There is no limit to your imagination with this one. You can have students build Christmas trees, ornaments, Santa and angle figurines, nativity scenes, or simply have them create Christmas cards. Turn these projects into contests with some appealing rewards and you are guaranteed to get maximum participation.
Role and short stage plays are a favorite amongst many Thai students. They love to act, present, and perform in front of others. Utilize it! Prepare a short theatrical production, a song, or a dance with your students and let them show their talent during the Christmas celebration, which is held during or after the morning assembly on December 24 at many schools this year. Naturally, the foreign teachers make perfect Santas, so be prepared to put on a red dress and a white beard to participate in the festivities.
Songs are always great to teach new words. Some Christmas carols like “Jingle Bells” and “We wish you a Merry Christmas” are quite well known in Thailand. Most of your students will recognize the melodies and perhaps even know some or all of the words to these songs. One carol I find particularly useful to teach new words is “Twelve Days of Christmas”, because it builds new vocabulary and helps students remember the words through repetition:
What are your favorite activities leading up to Christmas? I’d be delighted if you left a comment below, as it will help many other teachers.