One of the most interesting aspects of being an ESL Teacher is that we are not only dealing with learning a language: we also teach about cultures.

A famous joke against racism says:

Be like Super Mario, he is an Italian Plumber, made by Japanese people, who speaks English and looks Mexican.

Technology is changing the way we teach. It allows us to make our classes more interactive and therefore more interesting for our students.
In the future, I expect we are going to use it even more, especially because from now on, teaching online will be a dominant part of our job as teachers.

I interviewed Lucy Fogarty, an intercultural trainer with extensive experience conducting cultural training for foreign adults and teens relocating to different countries to live, study or work. 

She has an MA in Psychotherapy & Counselling from Regents University, London and a BA in International & Japanese from Dublin City University Ireland. She is Irish, she lived and worked in Japan for ten years and currently resides in London.

Lucy is the founder and CEO of Culture Buff Games, an EdTech developer of interactive games on different cultures. Their country-specific interactive games leverage visual stories to help foreigners and English language learners understand country-specific culture values in a way that is fun and engaging.
They offer FREE interactive games on American, British, Chinese and Indian cultural values at www.culturebuffgames.com

Lucy, what is culture training?

Cultural training bridges culture gaps for people in order to live with, work with and communicate effectively with people from different culture. Training programs are customized solutions for developing awareness of cultural values in social and business relationships, cultivating openness, tolerance, resilience and learning transitional skills for adjusting to life in a new country.  Culture Buff Games is a tool that is used as part of a culture training. Culture Buff Games captures the spirit of the culture via the power of storytelling.

How can Culture Buff Games be used by English language teachers?

Culture Buff Games are a powerful tool for English language teachers to boost awareness about different English-speaking cultures. Culture Buff’s American Values and British Values interactive games leverage visual stories to help English language students understand British and American culture values. Designed by culture experts, our culture stories illustrate how American and British values manifest in contemporary culture and are informed by key historical events. Our games are suitable for intermediate to advanced English language learners.

Our games can be facilitated by English language teachers virtually or face to face in the classroom. Cartoons can effectively depict culture stories and are a trigger for opening up discussion about culture values. Teachers can ask language learners to express how their own culture is different from the foreign culture. A learner’s response to each cartoon is a good indicator of their openness, tolerance and resilience. Culture Buff Games could also be given to English language learners as a self-directed culture learning tool. Interactive games can be incorporated into virtual culture exchange programs, pre-departure and post-arrival foreign student orientations. 

What are Culture Buff’s American Values Games? 

We have 6 American Values (Advanced) games and 4 American Values (Basic) games which help foreigners and English language learners understand American culture values.  The first game in the American Values series is free. Each Culture Buff American game has cartoons depicting historical events or contemporary real-world examples to highlight American values.  Our American values games illustrate 20 American values including Freedom, Can Do Attitude, Equality, Efficiency, Achievement and Success, Diversity and Giving Back.  Learning is reinforced through spaced repetition in our games.  Let’s take the American Value of risk orientation or high tolerance for risk. In one game we use a contemporary example from Silicon Valley, using the Silicon Valley mantra – fail fast fail often to illustrate the American value of risk. In another game we use a historical example of the speculators in the Gold Rush to illustrate the value of risk. The cartoons are backed up with explanations of the culture value of risk and more detailed explanation of Silicon Valley culture or The Californian Gold Rush.

What are Culture Buff’s British Values Games?

We have 4 British Values Games which help foreigners and English language learners understand British culture values.  The first game in the British Values series is free. Our British values game illustrate 20 British values or value ideals including Tradition, Courtesy, Modesty, Humour, Emotional Reserve, Privacy and Diversity. We show how generally accepted British cultural values manifest in everyday contemporary life or how British culture values have been informed by important historical events. Learning is reinforced through spaced repetition. We take the same culture value and depict it in multiple contexts. The below cartoon illustrates the British value of stoicism. The Brits value and admire stoicism. During the Covid-19 crisis, NHS workers and Captain Tom Moore were praised for their stoicism. 

How can English teachers access Culture Buff Games? 

Language teachers can get FREE INTERACTIVE GAMES on American Values and British Values by clicking on FREE GAMES at www.culturebuffgames.com
Learn how to facilitate our games by watching this instruction video link: https://www.culturebuffgames.com/view_instructions_video


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