Let’s talk about using the theme of hygiene in adult ESL lessons.
As an English language teacher, creating engaging and relevant lesson plans for your students is one of your missions. One theme that is both practical and culturally relevant is hygiene. Not only does using the theme of hygiene in adult ESL classes offer practical knowledge, but it also aligns with the current cultural awareness of cleanliness and well-being. Infusing hygiene-related themes into your adult ESL speaking classes will help your students enhance their language skills and foster important health habits.
Keep reading to explore how to effectively use the theme of hygiene in adult ESL speaking classes, including tips for incorporating relevant vocabulary, engaging activities, and cultural considerations.
Why Use the Theme of Hygiene in Adult ESL Speaking Classes?
While hygiene as a theme may not sound glamorous, it is crucial for your adult ESL learners, especially for those who are still struggling to figure out the cultural norms in their new community. Let’s go over several reasons why incorporating the theme of hygiene in adult ESL speaking classes can benefit you and your students.
First and foremost, hygiene is a practical and relevant topic for many adult ESL learners. Many of your students may be living in a new country or culture and may need to become more familiar with local hygiene practices. Teaching them about proper hygiene habits can improve their health and well-being and help them better navigate the subtle nuances of social interaction in their new environment.
Incorporating the theme of hygiene into your speaking classes can also help your students practice and improve their English skills in a meaningful and authentic way. By discussing and role-playing real-life situations related to hygiene, your students can practice their speaking, listening, and vocabulary skills in a natural and relevant context.
Finally, the theme of hygiene can be a fun and engaging topic for your students. Incorporating interactive activities and real-life examples can make the lesson more interactive and enjoyable for your students.
Incorporating Relevant Vocabulary
Nailing down a foreign language can be a daunting task, but it’s made easier when your students have the right words in their arsenal. That’s why one important aspect of incorporating the theme of hygiene in adult ESL speaking classes is ensuring that your students have the necessary vocabulary to communicate effectively about the topic. Here are some example vocabulary words and phrases to cover in your lessons:
- Beginner: wash, soap, water, toothpaste, towel, razor, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, & brush teeth
- Intermediate: antiseptic, sanitize, sterilize, germ-free, germ-ridden, lather, rinse, floss, mouthwash, & moisturize
- Advanced: hygienic, aseptic, disinfectant, antibacterial, exfoliate, dental hygiene, personal hygiene, hand sanitizer, germ-resistant & odor-free
Remember, these are just a few examples; you can adjust the level and vocabulary based on your students’ needs and abilities. It’s necessary to provide a mix of vocabulary at different levels to challenge and engage your students while ensuring they feel comfortable and confident in their language skills.
To add some color and depth to our discussion on the theme of hygiene in adult ESL speaking classes, let’s take a look at some idioms related to cleanliness and personal care:
Hygiene-themed expressions & idioms
- to keep your hands clean – to avoid getting involved in dishonest or illegal activities
- to take a shower – to refresh oneself or to clean oneself up
- to wash your hands of something – to distance oneself from something or to stop being involved in it
- a clean slate – a fresh start or a new beginning with no mistakes or past failures
- to scrub up – to clean oneself thoroughly, especially before surgery or other medical procedure
- a clean bill of health – being in good physical or mental health
- to air your dirty laundry in public – to discuss personal or private matters in a public or inappropriate setting
- a close shave – narrowly avoiding danger or a negative outcome
- neat as a pin – very clean and orderly
To help your students remember and practice these vocabulary words, you can use a variety of activities such as vocabulary drills, word games, and role-plays.
5 Engaging Activities for Hygiene-Themed Adult ESL Lessons
With the rise of hygiene awareness due to the pandemic, incorporating hygiene-related vocabulary and activities in your ESL classes is educational, relevant, and engaging. Keep reading to explore five creative and fun activities that can help your adult ESL students improve their language skills while learning about hygiene. From vocabulary drills to role plays, group discussions, presentations, and word games, you’ll discover new ways to keep your students motivated and interested in their language learning journey. So, grab your sanitizer, and let’s get started!
1. Vocabulary Drills
Vocabulary drills are a great way to teach and give students practice with hygiene vocabulary words. These drills involve repeating words or phrases out loud, often in a quick and structured manner, to help students commit them to memory and improve their pronunciation.
To use vocabulary drills in your hygiene-themed lessons, you can start by introducing a list of vocabulary words and phrases related to the theme. You can write these words on the board, create flashcards, or use a vocabulary list from a textbook or online resource.
Next, you can have your students repeat the words or phrases out loud, either individually or as a group. You can vary the pace and intensity of the drills based on your students’ abilities and needs. For example, you can start with slower, more controlled drills and gradually increase the speed as your students become more comfortable with the vocabulary.
You can also mix up the drills by using different repetition patterns, such as having students repeat the words in a specific order or alternating between individual and group repetition.
To make the drills more interactive and engaging, you can incorporate gestures or hand movements to help your students remember the vocabulary. You can also use visual aids such as pictures or videos to provide context and help students better understand the meaning of the words.
Here are some examples of sentences you can use with your students:
- Wash your hands before eating.
- Brush your teeth twice a day.
- Floss between your teeth.
- Use mouthwash to freshen your breath.
- Take a shower frequently.
- Use soap to soap up your body.
- Shampoo and condition your hair regularly.
- Use deodorant to prevent body odor.
- Moisturize your skin to keep it soft and hydrated.
- Use hand sanitizer to kill germs.
- Keep your surroundings germ-free.
- Maintain good dental hygiene.
- Practice good personal hygiene.
- Use antiseptic to clean and disinfect wounds.
- Sanitize surfaces to kill germs.
- Sterilize medical instruments to prevent infection.
In addition to practicing pronunciation, vocabulary drills can help your students improve their listening skills and build confidence in using new vocabulary. Be sure to provide feedback and encouragement to help your students feel successful and motivated in their language-learning journey.
Role-plays are a great way to incorporate the theme of hygiene in adult ESL speaking classes and allow your students to practice and improve their language skills in a natural and authentic context.
To use role-plays in your lessons, you can start by introducing a list of hygiene-related scenarios for your students to act out. These could include going to the dentist, washing their hands before a meal, taking a shower, or brushing their teeth. You can write these scenarios on the board, create flashcards, or use a list from a textbook or online resource.
Next, you can have your students work in pairs or small groups to role-play the scenario. You can assign specific roles, such as the patient or the dentist, or you can allow your students to choose their own roles.
As the students role-play the scenario, you can encourage them to use the vocabulary and phrases related to the theme of hygiene that you have introduced in your lessons. You can also provide feedback and guidance to help them improve their language skills and feel more confident in their role-plays.
Here are some example role-play scenarios related to the theme of hygiene in adult ESL, organized by level:
- Going to the dentist for a routine cleaning: In this role-play, one student can play the dentist’s role, and the other student can play the part of the patient. The dentist can ask the patient about their dental history and any problems they are experiencing, and the patient can answer questions and express their concerns. The dentist can then proceed with the cleaning, explaining each step as they go along.
- Washing hands before a meal: In this role-play, two friends at a restaurant talk about the importance of washing hands before a meal and the potential consequences of not doing so, such as spreading germs or getting sick. One of them expresses their concerns about handwashing in a public setting. The other friend gives tips for washing up and staying clean when using a public or shared bathroom.
- Brushing teeth before bed: In this role-play, one student can play the dental hygienist, and the other can play the patient. The dental hygienist can explain the importance of brushing teeth before bed and the consequences of not doing so, such as tooth decay or gum disease. The patient can ask questions and express concerns about their dental hygiene habits. The dental hygienist answers the questions and provides reassurance.
- Going to the doctor for a check-up: In this role-play, one student can play the doctor’s role, and the other student can play the part of the patient. The doctor can ask the patient about their medical history and any symptoms they are experiencing, and the patient can answer questions and express their concerns. The doctor can then perform a physical examination and provide recommendations for treatment or further testing.
- Applying antiseptic to a wound: In this role-play, one student can play the nurse role, and the other can play the patient. The patient can ask questions about how to care for the wound properly. The nurse can explain the importance of cleaning and disinfecting a wound and demonstrate the technique for applying antiseptic. The patient can ask questions about aftercare.
- Buying hygiene products at a store: In this role-play, one student can play the role of the store worker, and the other student can play the part of the customer. The store worker can ask the customer about their needs and make recommendations for different hygiene products, such as toothpaste, soap, or deodorant. The customer can then make a selection and pay for the items.
- Going to the dermatologist for a skin condition: In this role-play, one student can play the dermatologist’s role, and the other student can play the patient. The dermatologist can ask the patient about their skin condition and any treatments they have tried in the past, and the patient can answer questions and express their concerns. The dermatologist can then examine the patient’s skin and provide recommendations for treatment or further testing.
- Teaching a class on personal hygiene: In this role-play, one student can play the role of the teacher, and the other student can play the role of the student. The teacher can start by introducing the topic of personal hygiene and explaining why it is vital for maintaining good health. The student can then ask questions and express concerns or confusion about personal hygiene. The teacher can then provide tips and recommendations for maintaining good hygiene habits, such as washing hands frequently, brushing teeth twice a day, and showering regularly. The student can then ask follow-up questions and share their own experiences with personal hygiene.
Remember, these are just a few examples, and you can adjust the level and scenario based on your students’ needs and abilities. Provide a mix of role-play scenarios at different levels to challenge and engage your students while also ensuring that they feel comfortable and confident in their language skills. By role-playing real-life situations related to hygiene, your students can learn about crucial health habits and better understand how to apply them in their everyday lives.
3. Group discussions
Small group discussions are a great way to incorporate the theme of hygiene in adult ESL classes and improve your students’ language skills.
Start by dividing your students into small groups and assigning a facilitator. The facilitator can ask questions about personal hygiene habits and routines, such as how often they brush their teeth, wash their hands, or shower and why it’s important to do so. (If appropriate, give your facilitators a list of questions.)
Next, the group members can share their thoughts and experiences with personal hygiene and how it impacts their daily lives. They can discuss the benefits of maintaining good hygiene habits, such as feeling clean and fresh, preventing illness, and making a good impression on others. They can also talk about the consequences of not maintaining good hygiene habits, such as getting sick, having bad breath, or being ostracized by others.
The facilitator can encourage active participation and provide feedback to help improve their language skills. These discussions can also help develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills and increase awareness of the value of self-care. They can introduce new vocabulary and phrases related to the theme of hygiene to help their group members expand their language repertoire.
Through reflection on the significance of personal hygiene and its impact on their daily routines, your students can gain insight into the value of self-care and how to incorporate good hygiene habits into their lives.
Having your adult ESL students research and present on a specific aspect of hygiene is a great way to incorporate the theme of hygiene in adult ESL classes and provide your students with the opportunity to practice and improve their language skills. This activity can also help your students develop their research, presentation, and critical thinking skills and deepen their understanding of the topic.
To differentiate this activity according to beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, you can provide your students with different options and guidelines based on their language abilities and interests. Here are some tips for adapting this activity for different levels:
For beginner students, you can provide a list of simple and specific topics related to hygiene, such as the benefits of handwashing or the proper way to brush your teeth. You can also provide a template or outline for their presentations, such as introducing the topic, explaining the importance of the topic, providing examples or tips, and concluding with a summary. You can also provide support materials, such as vocabulary lists or sample presentations, to help your students with their research and preparation.
For intermediate students, you can provide a list of more complex and broader topics related to hygiene, such as the different types of dental care or the impact of hygiene on mental health. You can also provide more flexibility and choice in the format and structure of their presentations, such as allowing them to choose the format (presentation, poster, video) and the order of their points. You can also encourage them to include their own examples or personal experiences in their presentations to make them more engaging and authentic.
For advanced students, you can give them a list of interesting and maybe even controversial hygiene-related topics to research and present on. These can be things like how different cultures practice hygiene or the impact of hygiene products on the environment. The idea is to encourage your students to think critically and deeply about the topic and to offer their own solutions and recommendations.
Remember, the key is to provide your students with the appropriate level of challenge and support to help them succeed and thrive in this activity. You can also provide feedback and guidance throughout the process to help your students improve their language skills and feel more confident in their speaking abilities.
It is also vital to set clear expectations and guidelines for the activity, such as the length and format of the presentations, the research sources and criteria, and the assessment criteria and methods. This will help your students know what to expect and how they’ll be evaluated.
Overall, this activity is a great way to help your students become more knowledgeable and responsible members of their community by learning about good hygiene habits and how to apply them in their everyday lives. Plus, if they share their newfound knowledge with others, they can help spread the word and improve everyone’s hygiene habits.
5. Word Games
Using word games to review vocabulary and reinforce learning is a fun and interactive way to incorporate the theme of hygiene in adult ESL classes. There are many different word games that you can use, such as “Hygiene Hangman” or “Hygiene Quiz Show,” to provide your students with the opportunity to practice and improve their language skills in a low-stress and engaging environment.
Here are some tips for using word games in your adult ESL classes:
- Choose appropriate games: Select word games that are appropriate for the level and interests of your students. For example, Hygiene Snowman (not as dark as what can look like lynching in the classic hangman game) may be more suitable for beginner students, while Hygiene Quiz Show may be more suitable for intermediate or advanced students. You can also customize the games by choosing vocabulary words and phrases that are relevant and useful for your students and even providing hints that match your students’ level.
- Explain the rules and instructions: Clearly explain the rules and instructions of the word game to your students using simple and concise language. You can also provide visual aids or demos to help your students understand how to play the game.
- Encourage participation: Encourage your students to actively participate in the word game by asking them questions, providing feedback and encouragement, and praising their efforts. You can also offer incentives or rewards, such as points or prizes, to motivate and engage your students.
- Vary the difficulty: Vary the difficulty of the word game according to the level and abilities of your students. For example, you can provide clues or hints for beginner students or increase the number of vocabulary words for advanced students.
- Use word games as a review: Use word games as a review activity to reinforce learning and retention of vocabulary words and phrases. You can also use word games as a warm-up or a filler activity to add variety and interest to your lesson.
By using word games in your adult ESL classes, you can provide your students with a fun and interactive way to practice and improve their language skills while reinforcing the theme of hygiene. Plus, word games are a great way to promote problem-solving, critical thinking, and teamwork skills, and they can really boost your students’ confidence and motivation. It’s a win-win situation!
As you incorporate the theme of hygiene in adult ESL speaking classes, remember to keep in mind that hygiene practices can vary widely across different cultures. Remember to be mindful of cultural differences and sensitivities and to approach the topic with an open and respectful attitude.
Here are some tips for addressing cultural considerations in your adult ESL speaking classes:
- Research cultural differences: Do some research on the cultural differences in hygiene practices and customs, and consider how these differences might impact your students’ understanding and perspective on the topic. You can also ask your students to research and share their own cultural practices and customs related to hygiene.
- Encourage open and respectful discussions: Encourage open and respectful discussions about cultural differences in hygiene practices, and allow your students to share their own experiences and perspectives. Encourage your students to listen actively and respectfully to each other, and to avoid making assumptions or stereotypes about different cultures.
- Respect cultural sensitivities: Be mindful of cultural sensitivities and avoid making judgments or assumptions about the superiority of one culture’s practices over another. Instead, focus on the importance of maintaining good hygiene habits for personal and community health, and respect the diversity of cultural traditions and customs.
- Offer cultural resources: Offer cultural resources, such as articles, videos, or guest speakers, to help your students learn more about the cultural differences in hygiene practices and customs. You can also encourage your students to research and share these resources with each other.
By addressing cultural considerations in your adult ESL speaking classes, you can help your students develop an understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity and respect for different customs and practices. This can also help your students become more open-minded and understanding of others and enhance their communication and interpersonal skills.
Incorporating the theme of hygiene in adult ESL speaking classes can be a practical and engaging way to help your students improve their language skills and learn important healthy habits. By introducing relevant vocabulary, using interactive activities, and being mindful of cultural differences, you can create meaningful and practical lessons for your students.
Read about more themes for adult ESL!
- Etiquette and Manners: Helping Them Navigate Social Situations with Confidence and Grace
- Brushing Up on Dental English: How Role Play Can Help Adult ESL Students Prepare for a Trip to the Dentist
- First Impressions in Adult ESL: Tips, Advice, and Strategies for Teaching Students
- Eco-Minded Conversations: Using Environment Discussion Questions to Engage Your Adult ESL Students