ERIC Number: EJ936090
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Reference Count: 15
Using "The Simpsons" in EFL Classes
Rucynski, John, Jr.
English Teaching Forum, v49 n1 p8-17 2011
Most teachers of English as a Second/Foreign Language (ESL/EFL) would agree that their job is not just to teach language, but also to teach culture. While it is not a problem to accept this dual role, the complication lies in choosing what type of cultural content to include in their lessons. First, they have to decide whether a cultural component means focusing on daily living tips like etiquette and other cultural differences or on popular culture such as music, TV, or movie clips. Furthermore, when the language being taught is English, they have to consider which culture they are talking about. Depending on one's perspective, "The Simpsons" might seem either a strange or an obvious choice for inclusion in EFL classes. On the air since 1989, "The Simpsons" is now the longest-running animated series in American TV history. It focuses on the misadventures of nuclear power plant employee Homer Simpson, his wife Marge, and their three children--troublemaker Bart, teacher's pet Lisa, and pacifier-sucking baby Maggie. Set in the mythical town of Springfield, the show is a humorous parody of the American family. Some teachers may feel that it is not serious enough, considering that it is a mere cartoon. However, the show is an American institution that can be used in the English language classroom as a springboard for exploring American culture. This article offers ideas on how to use "The Simpsons" as a source of authentic sociocultural teaching materials for EFL students and describes how to use clips of the show to arrange lessons into pre-, during-, and post-viewing activities to help students learn English and understand important elements of American culture and society.
Descriptors: Popular Culture, Cartoons, Nuclear Energy, Cultural Differences, Television, English (Second Language), Second Language Instruction, Second Language Learning, Teaching Methods, Cultural Awareness, Programming (Broadcast)
US Department of State. Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Office of English Language Programs, SA-5, 2200 C Street NW 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20037. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.forum.state.gov
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A