I use this lesson in both my Survey of English-Speaking Countries class and my American Society and Culture class. Basically, we spend the first of our 45-minute class periods going through the worksheet with the corresponding PowerPoint and I share several experiences and examples that support several of the key differences between manners in America and manners here in China. This is a fun time full of laughter for most classes. Note: In lessons like this, it’s really important to emphasize to students that while it’s important for them to understand Western manners, we the teachers really understand them using their own country’s manners while we are all living in their country together– we do not expect them to fully go into American-manners mode whenever we interact.
During the second class period, students perform role plays in which some of the players follow American manners and some do not. This is mostly just for fun, but it does really reinforce some of the manners we discussed in the first period and gives them a chance to further explore how they might feel to experience a clash between the manners they’re used to and those the people around them use.
To download the American Manners PPT, click here: American Manners
To download the American Manners worksheet, click here: Manners
Here are some previews of a select few PPT slides:
The words that fill in the blanks on the worksheet are (in this order): chew, place of honor, napkin, wine, smoke, about 5, early, make yourself at home, old, specific/ negative, sexy, sorry, excuse me, advice, spit, race, gender, appearance, first, end, toothpick, earphones, quietly, neighbors, horn, rude, disruptive.
I added letters at the end of each manner so they’d be more easily identifiable for my students. This also lent itself to a nice activity where we divided the manners and sorted them between which ones were the same in China and which ones were different.