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English as a Second Language

Category 5 - Cultural Elements and Cultural Products

Studying culture gives students a reason to study the target language
as well as rendering the study of L2 meaningful.

The Cultural Elements category is at the heart of the Cycle One program and, makes learning meaningful for young language learners. This category consists of authentic audio-models as well as songs, rhymes and stories selected from a repertoire of authentic texts created for English-speaking children. This category enhances the development of the program’s two competencies.

In the Cycles Two and Three program, the Cultural Products category consists of texts, media, games, famous people, origin of names, landmarks, traditions and idiomatic expressions from various English-language cultures. Cultural products enhance the development of the three competencies by making English come alive in the ESL classroom.

Learning context is a feature found in the ESL Progression of Learning chart that describes the conditions under which students progressively construct knowledge throughout the cycles. It highlights the differences in the learning environments as defined in the Cycle One and the Cycles Two and Three programs.

Elementary Cycle One Learning Context

Elementary Cycles Two and Three Learning Context

English-language cultures, brought to life through songs, rhymes and stories, as a backdrop to enjoyable first encounters with the target language

Exposure to English-language cultures through a variety of cultural products that inform and entertain

Student constructs knowledge with teacher guidance.

Student applies knowledge by the end of the school year.


Student reinvests knowledge.

  Cycle One   Cycle Two Cycle Three
1 2 3 4 5 6
Discovers CULTURAL ELEMENTS through: Explores CULTURAL PRODUCTS through:

Songs and rhymes

  • Nursery rhymes
  • Choosing rhymes
  • Jump rope rhymes
  • Action songs
  • Circle rhymes
  • Ball bouncing rhymes
  • Clapping rhymes
  • Sing-alongs

Stories (e.g. Mouse’s First Halloween, Red Is Best, The Very Hungry Caterpillar)

Authentic audio-models

  • Audio productions: DVDs and CDs
  • Resource people (e.g. teacher, guest speakers)
1 Texts, media, games (e.g.  films, magazines,  Web sites)
    Famous people (e.g. athletes, astronauts, artists)
    Origin of names (e.g. family names, businesses)
    Landmarks (e.g. buildings, statues, streets)
    Traditions related to celebrations and special events (e.g. birthdays, Christmas, Earth Day)
    Idiomatic expressions (e.g. Break a leg. That rings a bell. Cat got her tongue.)
1 The Cycle One student constructs new knowledge by gradually becoming aware of new language, strategies, language conventions, text components and cultural elements.

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