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Sparking Their Curiosity: Pairing Trends with Language Learning

by | November 15, 2019

Tara sparking their curiosity banner

A naturally curious mind takes interest in a wide range of subjects to find connections to help solve everyday problems better.

—Thomas Oppong

We often hear the saying that all knowledge starts with curiosity. This week, while listening to a writing podcast, I heard something that made even more sense than that. Hiro Boga, a creative entrepreneur and mentor, suggests that we need to know at least a little bit about something in order to become curious about it.

You can use current events and trends to spark your students' curiosity. Once they know a little bit (and show interest in learning more), follow up with one or more of our topical lesson plans.

Trending This Week: The Bay of Fundy

If your students have never been to the east coast of Canada, they may have no knowledge, and likewise no curiosity, about the Bay of Fundy, one of North America's natural wonders. A report that came out this week had #BayofFundy trending on Twitter and inspired this post.

Researchers have just finished surveying the seafloor of the Bay of Fundy and reported finding 1.8 million items of trash. Plastic bags made up approximately half of the litter that was found.

Pairing Trends with Topical Lessons

Now that you have this little bit of knowledge, are you curious to learn more? This is where ESL Library comes in.

After finding an interesting news item that sparks your students' interest, visit ESL Library and search for related lessons. For this week's trend, you would find a Famous Places lesson on the Bay of Fundy. In our Discussion Starters section, you would also find related lessons on Ocean Garbage and Banning Plastic Bags.

If you're interested in the flipped classroom approach, you could assign some digital tasks to your students from The Bay of Fundy lesson.* In addition to learning about the world, your students can increase their vocabulary, improve their reading and listening comprehension, and practice speaking about relevant topics that people in their communities are also discussing. They'll also improve their digital literacy.

As your students learn a bit about this natural wonder of the world, you may notice their curiosity heading down another path. They might show interest in learning about other environmental issues or other famous Canadian places. They may even show interest in researching other natural wonders of the world, such as Mount Everest or The Great Barrier Reef.

*Note

As an ESL Library subscriber on a Standard plan, the Read & Listen digital task is available for you to assign to your students. As a Plus user, all of the interactive tasks are available to assign for homework or in‑class use.

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