sign up forgot password

ESL Teacher Blog
The teacher's point of view: thoughts, observations and ideas about ESL teaching.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Dragon: Another Cultural Difference

There are many dragon tales, myths and legends all over the world. But while in the west and Europe a dragon is a fire-breathing beast that hunts innocent people for dinner, the Chinese dragon is associated with quite the opposite - it repels the evil spirits and brings wealth and good luck.
The Chinese Year of Dragon is here, so why not spend some class time on this mysterious creature and talk about its differences and similarities across the cultures? As ESL instructors, we can help clear up the confusion between the western and Oriental dragons and point out their different appearances and behaviors.
Ask students to form small groups and talk about the following questions:
1. Do dragons have a positive or negative connotation in your culture?

2. How does a dragon look? Does it have wings/a tail/a mane/horns/whiskers/claws/fangs/scaly skin? How many heads/legs does it have?

3. Does it have features of other animals (e.g.: scales of fish)?

4. What color is it?

5. Where does it live (in the forest/caves/sea)?

6. Are dragons protectors or villains? What’s their nature (bad-tempered, evil, brutal, bloodthirsty; kind, wise, spiritual)

7. Are people afraid of dragons? Do they respect and worship them?

8. What supernatural powers does it possess? Can it change sizes? Form clouds? Change water into fire? Glow in the dark?

9. Is a dragon considered immortal?

10. What does a dragon stand for (violence, aggression, cruelty, destruction, greed; harmony, power, wealth, auspiciousness, benevolence, good fortune, controlling the forces of nature, abundance, leadership, long life)?

11. Dragons have long been a national emblem of China. Why might this image hurt the positive image of China?

12. Tell a fable/legend/story from your culture that involves a dragon.

Take notes on the board and have students summarize the differences. Wrap up with 2 opinion questions:
- With so many differences between the western and Asian dragons, should the Asian dragon be translated into English in a different way? (should it just keep its Chinese name)? Is it lost in translation?

- Why might a dragon be a monster of miscommunication?
POSTED BY Olga Galperin AT 10:56 PM   1 Comments  Add Comment


 Blog Archive
  September 2015
  March 2015
  February 2013
  November 2012
  October 2012
  September 2012
  August 2012
  June 2012
  January 2012
  December 2011
  October 2011
  September 2011
  June 2011
  April 2011
  March 2011
  February 2011
  January 2011
  December 2010
  November 2010
  September 2010
  August 2010
  July 2010
  June 2010
  May 2010
  April 2010
  March 2010
  February 2010
  January 2010
  December 2009
  November 2009
  October 2009
  September 2009
  August 2009
  July 2009
  June 2009
  May 2009
  April 2009
  March 2009
  February 2009
  January 2009
  December 2008
  November 2008
  October 2008
  September 2008
  August 2008
  July 2008
  June 2008
  May 2008
  April 2008
  March 2008
  February 2008
  January 2008
  December 2007
  November 2007
  October 2007
  September 2007
  August 2007
  July 2007
ESL Student Blog | ESL Teacher Blog | About Us | Contact Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Statement