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Ministry of Education.

Learning task 1

Setting the scene

To set the scene for this unit, watch a video or read articles about refugees and immigration:

  1. Refugee Students: A Hagley Initiative (Hagley Community College 2002). This video highlights refugees' arrival experiences and their feelings about learning English and adjusting to New Zealand culture. Email [email protected] to order a copy.
  2. "Home sweet home for reunited Afghan family" (NZ Herald website).

Note: Many schools pay an annual fee to Copyright Licencing to allow the recording of documentaries etc for classroom use.

 Ask the class to discuss their observations of immigrant and refugee stories.


  1. Write "Coming to live in New Zealand" at the top of the whiteboard. Underneath write "Plus, Minus, Interesting".
  2. Brainstorm the topic using a Think, Pair, Share activity and record the students' ideas on the whiteboard under the appropriate headings.
  3. Organise the ideas into a suitable mind map/graphic organiser.


  1. Arrange for an adult who has immigrated to NZ to come and speak to the class about their experience. Ensure they have reasonable English.
  2. Have the students make up suitable questions in advance. 
    In the following lesson have the students discuss their reactions and reflections on what they learnt from the speaker. Add to the class graphic organiser if new ideas have emerged.
  3. To follow up the interview ask students to write to the person who spoke to them. This will be an opportunity not only to thank them but also to share their own arrival and resettlement experiences.
  4. Elicit from the class ideas of what a good thank you letter might contain. You may like to use the ModelLetter (Word 24KB) for your students as a homework activity.

Interpreting text

Formative reading text 1: CulturalCrashCourse (Word 831KB)

Activate prior knowledge

  1. Introduce the text by writing on the whiteboard "Driving in New Zealand/Driving in another country". Choose a country where a large group of your students come from. Ask them to also consider what it is like for a new person coming to the country and driving a car there.
  2. Use the Think/Pair/Share strategy. Have students discuss and compare driving habits in New Zealand with their own country.
  3. Record responses on the whiteboard under the headings Plus/Minus/Interesting.

Pre-teach vocabulary

  1. Introduce students to the new vocabulary they are about to encounter.
  2. Divide the words amongst groups in the class. Each group of students looks up their word or words and then teaches the rest of the class using the The Guardian of the Word Strategy (Word 21KB) .
  3. Follow up using the WordMatch (Word 28KB) . The fourteen words or phrases have been underlined in the article.

Predicting text content

  1. Hand out the text Cultural crash course.
  2. To predict what the article is about, focus on the cartoon and have the class make predictions about the content of the article.
  3. Study visual techniques with your class in greater depth. More background reading on visual language (Word 40KB) . See also Exploring Language: Visual Language.
  4. Discuss with the class how the cartoon supports the ideas in the article.

Pre-teach language features

  1. Ask students to identify the language features of texts.
  2. Cut up into a set of cards. Students work in pairs or threes and reassemble the cut up sheet.
  3. It is a good idea to include a set of correct answers for students to check their responses when they have finished.
  4. Students who are new to this terminology will need several opportunities to practise identifying techniques. Make a point of drawing attention to language techniques at every opportunity when reading with the class.
  5. For additional tasks there are a number of exercises in the English 1.6 text: Ladbrook, Judine & Page, Rob (2002) Read and Show Understanding of Unfamiliar Texts, Pearson Education.

Published on: 16 Jul 2009