Number one for English language teachers

Editorial: Focus on food

Type: Article

In January’s editorial, Keith Kelly heralds the launch of Carol Read’s Amazing world of food with a tasty-looking selection of resources.  

Dear colleagues,

Our editorial theme this month is food!

I’m a language teacher always looking to integrate content into my lessons and food is one of the easiest of topics to draw on the content curriculum for developing language. I first became interested in food and nutrition with the Science Across the World project, based on eating habits and getting students to survey their daily eating and drinking routines with a view to exchanging with a partner group in a school in another country.

Onestopenglish offers a vast range of food resources and teaching ideas, so many that it would be impossible to list them all here. So, what I’ll do is describe types of resources and tasks and give examples to whet your appetite. The new search tools on the site are also helpful and make looking for stuff much easier (see the top right of the screen).

There are a number of places you might start on the site. With a basic search for ‘food’ in the CLIL section we are given options for further refinement: skills, vocabulary, age, level, to name but a few. On top of that, it’s a good idea to find out what is being taught in this area in the content curriculum. Joined-up teaching helps learners in many ways, not least to see that there is thought given to making different subjects fit together in the school day.

Science and food
Science colleagues tell me that in the topic of food there are key areas from the content curriculum they look to cover such as the basics of nutrition, obesity, food groups and how digestion works  (there is a question loop for digestion and circulation too) as well as food chains and food webs.

Food Geography
Geography teachers I’ve spoken to place food within the curriculum area focused on sectors of economy, farming and shopping, but also the topic of food distribution and global poverty. Tim Webb’s lesson on methods of farming around the world has a neat language support section for defining different methods and scaffolds learners in producing their own written piece.

History and food
History teachers refer to the origin of food stuffs as well as developments in food production throughout history, so for those of you who might be tempted, take a look at this resource on the history of chocolate manufacturing.

Food Maths
Maths teachers I’ve spoken to suggest that survey work in food habits lends itself to working with graphs and diagrams. Here, learners are expected to represent graphically the data they collect, and also express the information in the data in sentence form. A good simple example of this is Venn Diagrams which has learners fill in diagrams and charts according to food preferences. For older and more advanced learners, the integrated CLIL skills lesson You are what you eat offers a lot of scope for surveying groups about food. You will also find some great activities from Jean Brewster covering an entire smorgasbord of visuals and their exploitation for young learners of CLIL.

Food and sport
Sports teachers can get students to investigate the importance of a balanced diet in this lesson on nutrition and keeping fit.

So, whatever your particular food fancy, we’re likely to have it here. Get stuck in!

Best wishes,


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