CALL Teaching Instructions for
“Good Luck & Bad Luck, Superstitions, and Other Strange Beliefs”
Level: Middle School or Young Adult
High beginner/Low intermediate
Time: 50 minutes
Objective: Talking about superstitions from different cultures.
This CALL lesson should follow the classroom lesson “Superstition and Mystery” from American Shine, Book 2, Unit 6.
Activity 1- Learn About Marriage Superstitions Around the World.
a) Begin the lesson with a brief discussion: Did you know that in some Western Cultures it is bad luck to open an umbrella indoors? It’s also considered bad luck to walk under a ladder. Can anyone think of a superstition here in Korea? There are many superstitions about marriages from around the world. Let’s learn about some these superstitions.
Review (or teach) relevant vocabulary found on the Student’s Page.
c) Teacher log on to:
d) Click on the Marriage link at the bottom of the page. These are very short and good for illustrating the first conditional. Go over some of the superstitions about marriage before you have the class log on to the web page. Model the sentences below.
Did you know:
In Mexico, if someone accidentally sweeps an unmarried woman's shoes with a broom, she will never marry.
In Taiwan, if a woman serves as a bridesmaid more than twice, she will have bad luck.
e) Pair Work. Have them take turns telling each other about marriage superstitions from around the world.
f) Wrap up this activity with a discussion. Which superstition did you think was the strangest? Which was the most interesting? Have you heard about any of these superstitions before? Which ones? Are there any other superstitions you’ve heard of that are not listed on this webpage? What are they?
Activity 2 – Learn About Other Superstitions Around the World
a) This activity is simply and extension of activity 1. Return to the homepage of Superstitions Around the World by clicking on the green ‘back’ button at the top of the page. Or log on again to:
b) Click on one of the countries listed and model the superstition.
c) Pair Work. Have students choose a country, then tell their partner about some of the superstitions from that country.
d) Wrap up again with a discussion. Which superstitions did you find most interesting? Etc.
Activity 3 – Good Luck and Bad Luck
a) Read through the introduction with the class. Allow students to use the computer dictionary to look up words they don’t know.
b) Click on the “A-C” link. In this exercise, given the information on this website, using the first conditional will be too difficult for lower level students. Model a new sentence.
Touching wood before flying on an airplane means (is) good luck.
Having live flowers on board an airplane means (is) bad luck.
c) Try a few more examples with the students. Lower level students will need constant support for this activity.
d) Small Group Work. The superstitions on this website are alphabetized and categorized into A-C, D-H, I-N, O-Z. Before you divide the class into groups makes sure the students understand the webpage. Words in yellow are the topic; underneath is unlucky and lucky for that topic. Note that some topics do not have both luck and unlucky superstitions. Now divide the class into four groups and assign each group one of the four categories. Have them choose a few favorites. Then have them report back to the entire class.
e) As always, end class with a brief discussion. Do you believe in superstitions? If so, what are they? Where so you think superstitions come from? Etc.
Teacher’s Note: There are many websites dealing with superstitions. The difficulty is finding ones that are useful and in some way interactive. The above exercises are just a couple of ways to approach a couple of websites on superstition. Listed below are some other good websites. Teachers are encouraged to peruse this list before class. They may wish to devise further activities using these websites.
This website has a search function. Teachers may wish to allow students to use it, by giving them “suggested” key words. It also divides the superstitions into categories. Teachers might want to substitute this website for the one used in Activity 3 above.
This website is smaller and perhaps more manageable than the ones above. It divides superstitions into three categories: Holiday Superstitions, Animal Superstitions, Good Luck! And Bad Luck.
Here is a list of other websites on the topic of “Superstitions around the World.”