Global Issues in Language Education College and University Education Practice-Oriented Short Workshop

Teaching world religions in EFL: Basic knowledge for global citizens

Sat, Jul 9, 14:40-15:05 Asia/Tokyo

Location: F33

Part of becoming a global citizen means learning about the diversity of religions in our global village. The English classroom can be an exciting place to explore this topic while promoting international understanding, cultural awareness and interest in the wider world. This talk will describe a content-based EFL unit designed for Japanese college learners on the topic of “world religions.” The unit aims to help students: A) gain a basic knowledge of the world’s major religions, B) acquire basic religious vocabulary needed to follow current events, C) overcome religious stereotypes (for example, that “Muslim = terrorist”), D) develop the respect, empathy and tolerance needed in our multicultural world. The unit consists of task-based activities that actively engage students in exploring the beliefs, traditions and symbols of five world religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism). The activities are designed to promote vocabulary acquisition, language practice, communication skills and critical thinking. They range from group brainstorming, readings and quizzes to guest speakers, research homework and field trips. The talk will conclude with advice for language educators on how to address this topic in class plus a list of resource books, videos and websites on world religions.

  • Kip Cates

    Kip A. Cates is professor emeritus in the Faculty of Regional Sciences at Tottori University. For 30 years, he has been active in the field of global education and language teaching as a writer, speaker and teacher trainer. He has an M.A. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Reading, England and is a founder of TESOL’s Social Responsibility Interest Section. He is past chair of the "Global Issues" Special Interest Group of the Japan Association for Language Teaching (JALT) and edits its quarterly "Global Issues in Language Education Newsletter”. He’s chair of the Asian Youth Forum (AYF), an occasional guest speaker on Peace Boat and writes essays for English learners for the Japan Times. He has worked, lived or travelled in 50 countries and speaks 9 languages.