Module two works very well with very little adaptation for ESL students at the intermediate to advanced levels.  There are four additional lessons that can be used for teaching culture bumps outside of the Toolkit.


Vocabulary Words for the focus activity before the video


Moment – minute

Hospitality – To be nice with people who visit your home

Daily lifestyle – what people do everyday – for example, what people eat for each

meal or what they do for fun

Effective – Good

Intercultural – two or more cultures

Interpersonal – two or more people

Interaction – talking


Brian and Aziz: a Mini-movie


In this movie, Brian (from the USA) and Aziz (from the Middle East)

are two young men who study together. As the movie begins, Brian is

going to visit Aziz at Aziz’s home. They both hope to learn more about

the other one.

However, their culture bumps prevent them from becoming friends.

As you watch the movie, try to identify as many culture bumps for

both young men as possible.



*culture bump: cultural difference



Expectation – what you think will happen

Relationship – connection

Bump – to touch accidentally


The Culture Bump: A Reading


While this reading and the following discussion questions offer very

little problem for ESL students, the following vocabulary words can be


Vocabulary Words


Fit together – go together well, with no problem

Interfere – have a problem with

Skewed – unrealistic, not true

Interact – to talk with, to be in relationship with someone

Hasty – quick

Exit – to leave

Interpret – understand

Blind spot – to not know something and not know that you don’t know

Emanate – to come from

Ornate – very fancy

Koran – the holy book for Islam

Vague – not clear

Confirm – to be sure

Eliminate – to take out, to not have

Perspective – point of view


                                                       Observation: Judgment or Description?


This activity is easily done with all level of ESL students. However,

this is an opportune moment to put up the two photos, the elderly

woman on the four wheeler and the Korean wedding and have the

students generate a list of vocabulary words. For example, words

such as house shoes, helmet, roof, handlebars, gloves, railing etc. This

would also be a good time to teach the appropriate way to address or

talk about older people in the United States.


Follow-up Activity


Page 14 is easily done in pairs or small groups. Another way is to print

out the different sentences in a large font, place each one on a

separate piece of paper and place them around the room. Let the

students go through and answer in pairs and then compare their

answers with other pairs.


Culture-Bump Trivia


The trivia cards are easily done with some vocabulary explanation.


Trivia (the game)

Counter – in a store

To frown – Using the face to show displeasure or unhappiness

Elderly – a polite word to describe people who are 70 years old or older

To emerge – to come out of

To grasp – to hold

Elbow – the place in the middle of the arm where the arm bends

Disgust – to dislike

Request – to ask for

“to show regard for” – to show respect for

consideration – respect

to approach – to come close to

“to feel hurt” – to feel unhappy because someone says or does something unkind

assigned – to appoint, to tell someone to do something

to adjust – to adapt

to be withdrawn – to not want to talk or participate

elegance – dignified beauty

spiritual – having to do with the spirit

to offend – to be disrespectful

to poke – to hit with the finger

double-take- to look at something/someone twice because you are so surprised

to lean forward  – to bow

the corner of your eye  – the side of your eye

route – the way to go someplace

curb – the side of the street –

authority – the one in charge, the leader

inclusive – to include

acknowledge – to tell someone that they did well



Grammar: Connection words and Writing


Find the following connections in the reading on the Culture Bump


However, Again, Therefore, Likewise, Again, Thus,


Re-write the sentence using the connection word:


Write your own sentences using each of the connection words.

What are other grammar structures in the essay that you can identify or need to

have explained?




With people from your own culture, create your own culture bump

trivia card. Make sure your example is a specific example and that your

explanation includes the common value. After looking at all of the

culture bumps, make a list of common values and situations. Check

your list with the list of common values and common situations in Module Five.


More Resources for teaching the Culture Bump Concept


1.  Go to\cultureb-world.htm

Click on the website entitled Chinese/American culture bump

(Shopping). This is the best explanation for culture bumps.

This website is self-explanatory.


2.  Go to\cultureb-world.htm


Click on the video entitled Chinese, Indian, Generational, American Culture Bumps

(Greetings). This videos shows a variety of greetings with a group of university students

and their bumps with one another. Their explanation helps clarify the nuances of

culture bumps, not only with different cultures, but with generational differences also.

Going over the vocabulary list first will enhance the students comprehension. It is an

excellent source of authentic English language.


Greetings Vocabulary


Hug – to put arms around another person

Awkward – Not comfortable

Clash – culture bump

Taken aback – surprised

Brushed aside- ignored

Small Talk – talking about

Mingle- mix with

Offend- Disrespect

Braced myself- prepared myself

To block-to prevent

Invade her personal space- get close to

Back away from- go away from

Gender- male or female

Culture barrier- cultural wall

Commonalities-things that are the same

Follow up with role plays of greetings between the groups

in the classroom

3.  A complete lesson for advanced level classes can be built around the

video of the conversation between Karen and Miguel- a northamerican

woman and a Venezuelan male. The video is used in conjunction

with the script entitled, “Karen and Miguel: A script of thought

process. This lesson introduces the concept of a culture bump as

well as perceptions, human commonalities and interior and exterior


Download the Script and make copies for pairs of students. In each

pair one student will read the “inner thoughts” of Karen and the other

will read the “inner thoughts” of Miguel. The video is cued to stop

at intervals in which the thoughts are read. Half way through the

video, the culture bump occurs. When the students have completed

watching the video, facilitate their reaction. Then go to\cultureb-world.htm and click on the powerpoint

to introduce the concepts embedded in culture bump theory.

Finally, click on the essay entitled Why are we different/How are we the same. This

explains the author’s culture bump.

Follow up with students preparing their own essays on their culture

bumps, using the Archer essay as a model.


Karen and Miguel Script of Thought Process PDF


4.  Living with Strangers in the USA was written for advanced level students.  A PDF can be purchased at