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Sunday, October 12, 2008

ESL Teacher Blog: Thanksgiving and Elections – Is There a Connection?

In a few days Canadians head to the polling stations to vote in the Federal Elections. This time the Elections Day falls on the day right after Thanksgiving. Planning to cover both events as two separate topics in my ESL class, never have I expected to find them so connected.

After describing the structure of the Canadian government to the class of newcomers, little did I know how difficult it would be for them to talk about the structure of the government of their home countries. A seemingly simple question “Is your country a democracy?” couldn’t be clearly answered. “My country has Parliament, but they have their way to tell us who to vote for” – was a very common explanation.
Usually proud of the food, customs and traditions of their countries of origin, this time the students seemed rather confused and undecided. They took in every piece of the new information, bombarding me with questions about the Canadian government.

When the turn came and we were answering the Thanksgiving question “What are you grateful for?”, the answer was obvious to most of the students - exercising their citizen rights and responsibilities in a truly democratic country and having no fear to do so.
The timing of the elections couldn’t have been better.
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 11:07 PM
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