ESL Activity - Authentic Cooking Experience
Level: Elementary and
Target Learners: Teens and
Language: Imperatives used for instructions; vocabulary for
food and cooking; adverbs of sequence (first, then,
Authenticity: Directions from
Comprehensibility: Bilingual instructions
Materials: Instant noodles, canned soup, jelly or pudding
powder, popcorn, pancake mixture, cocoa drink, etc; cooking utensils; home
Introduction & Aim
An English exam question given
to my son sparks off the idea of an EFL lesson based on authentic, practical
language use. My son did not write a single word on the answer sheet, and upon
my inquiry, he confessed that he did not know how to attempt the question.
First, he did not understand what instructions were and the language required
of him. Second, he had no hands-on experience in baking a cake or cooking
noodles, which was more of an excuse than the fact.
The purpose of this lesson is to teach
authentic language use and provide hands-on experience, catering for learners
with different intelligence profiles, namely bodily-kinesthetic and
interpersonal talents. It also opens avenues to cross-discipline cooperation
between EFL and home science. An added benefit is cultural awareness of western
styled food and meal.
Briefly introduce the theme and objectives.
Teacher presents common instant or easy-to-prepare food products. Point out
western-style ones. Ask if learners like them. Students are to share their
favourites and cooking experience, if any. Draw their attention to vocabulary.
Pick one exemplary item. Two learners come forward, one being the reader and
the other writer. Open the package and copy the preparation instructions on to
the chalkboard. Remind them to replace the brands with the generic name of the
food item. Check class comprehension. Introduce adverbs of sequence, and add
them in the right place. Students pair up and are assigned different food
products. They are to work out the meaning of instructions and prepare the food
items. The class share among themselves the final products and elect the 'best
Home assignment: Learners pick their
favourite easy-to-prepare recipe and write up the preparation directions.
Additional credit will be given if they demonstrate mastery of imperatives and
adverbs of sequence.
Next session: Pairs agree on a recipe to
prepare. Bring their own ingredients and present their method of preparation.
Extra credits are given for pooling of effort to prepare a 3- or 4-course meal
with starter, soup, main dish, desert and/or drink.
Lesson Plan Highlights
Involvement. Most of the time,
learners are busy working out the language themselves. Scaffolding. The lesson
is structured with language explanation, demonstration, pairwork and bilingual
package instructions. Hands-on experience. Projection effect. Learners are
directed to pay attention to names of food, preparation instructions, simple
recipe, courses of meal, package descriptions (ingredients, expiry date, weight
and serving size, storage instructions, nutrition information, etc.)
Contributor: Connie Chow