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What is interesting to ESL students?

My students are not only from all around the world, but they all immigrated to the US at different times. Some have been here for years, while others just got here. So I was a little worried when I gave my students a list of American celebrities and politicians for a discussion activity.

I wanted groups of four to practice present perfect by doing a mock interview with a celebrity. They could ask some great “Have you ever thought/done/gone….?” questions in present perfect. But the activity hinged upon the group members all knowing and being interested in the same celebrity.

Out of my long list, I was shocked to find that Brad and Angela were the most popular couple to interview. I mean really, are Brad Pitt and Angelina that well-known and that interesting? Well, my students thought so. They were so excited to play movie-stars and ask really personal questions. Like, “Angelina, why haven’t you ever been pregnant?” The student playing Angelina had a good answer: “I haven’t had enough time. I am a busy woman!”

So their pop culture knowledge is a little outdated. Angelina has had a child, but it is important to notice that the students had something to say. They were really interested and engaged. I had honestly thought that people would interview politicians, like Hillary and Obama. But it was really hilarious to see my students get into the celebrity gossip.

It goes to show that we can never quite predict what our students will find interesting!

3 Responses to “What is interesting to ESL students?”

  1. rams Says:

    quite interesting.

  2. English Advantage Says:

    I did a similar lesson and I agree–the students had a great time with it. We did have one student who played President Bush and it led to some great spontaneous conversation: The student playing Bush had a lot of fun demanding to know why people were asking personal questions, or asking what newspaper or TV station the askers were from. Similarly, another student played Boris Yeltsin (who is dead) so we had a lot of fun discussing how his ghost came back for our lesson!

  3. Kevin Says:

    Amazing. I’ll subscribe on your RSS. How much time did you write a post?

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