Lesson: Families of the world.

Study Guides, Handouts and Quizzes for English language learners by Tracy Cramer.

Tracy Cramer received an MA in TESOL from San Francisco State University. He has taught at SFSU, and Canada College in Redwood City, California. Since 2003, he has been teaching at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan. His professional interests include content based instruction, global issues and extensive reading, writing and listening.



I. Teacher Introduction: Countries and Families of the World


Very often the challenge with using authentic video materials in an ESL/EFL class is that the language level is too high for lower level English language learners. The Families of the World video series, however, is different because not only is the language appropriate for lower level students, but the vehicle of that language, the lives and stories of the series narrators, truly engage the interest of the students. In addition, the narrators, in the course of taking the viewer through a day in their lives, touch on topics as wide ranging as religious beliefs and customs, the role of women, socialism, communism, agricultural practices, colonial history, school life, patriotism/nationalism, national language policy, the environment and others. Teachers interested in having their students explore these and other topics of cross-cultural or global significance will therefore find much to draw from.


To give my low-intermediate first-year Japanese university students more control over their learning, I have created a year-long learner-centered unit. Briefly, the students do a little research on each country, present this information in small groups while their partners take notes, answer short written questions as they watch the video, discuss these and additional questions on the larger issues touched on in the video, and then take a quiz on what they learned. Throughout this several class long process, and to supplement the research, presentations, video and discussion, I give short lectures, and show pictures, maps, and music videos available for free on the Internet. In addition, the students engage in language activities such as oral presentation skills development, vocabulary development and pronunciation.


I offer these to you and your students to enhance your students’ language study, and their awareness of global issues and of other cultures. You will need to adapt them a little to meet your students’ specific needs as I wrote them for my Japanese students. Please feel free to use and share them in any way you choos for your classroom. However, they are not intended for commercial purposes and all rights are reserves by the author’s (Tracy Cramer, cramer.tracy(at)gmail.com). so Th content herein may not be repackaged and sold.

Three Sections (materials continued)

1. Countries and Families of the World Study Guide (Click to download 21 pages). This is intended for the students, but will give you, the teacher, an overview of the unit. A few notes:

a. Pages 1 and 2: If the World Were a Village (by David Smith) pre-reading activity. I introduce the Countries and Families of the World unit with this book. (After the students complete pages 1 and 2, we read the book together in class.)

b. Pages 4 to 6: I take the students to the library and we do the research together for the first country they report on.

c. Pages 12 to 19: Country Handouts 1 and 2. I recommend that the teacher model the first country oral mini-report by delivering it as a lecture while the students take notes. Ideally, if the video is available, lecture on the country that you are from. (I, however, chose to do France because I like France so much.)

d. Page 20: The students do the Reflection only one time.

2. Country Handouts (Download PDF below):

a. There is one four-page handout for each country.

b. Maps: Ideally, print out the first page of the Country Handout in color. The contrast and brightness can be altered to suit your printing needs, whether for black and white or color, by right clicking on the map, and then using the Picture Toolbar. Note: There are other attractive and more detailed maps online that you can replace these maps with if you want to highlight other features (such as the topography) of a country.

c. Vocabulary: All the words are from the videos. I chose words that:

1) I knew the students might be unfamiliar with, or,

2) enable them to understand key concepts in the videos, or,

3) as language support for the While and After Watching Questions.

d. Part 1, While Watching Questions: These questions were written to:

1) give the students a task to keep them focused on listening,

2) as language practice, and

3) to draw their attention to concepts that they will focus on in their discussions.

e. Part 2, After Watching Questions: These questions were written specifically with my 18 year old Japanese students in mind. You will note that most of the topics covered by the narrators are only touched on very briefly. I therefore supplement the series with other information that I deliver to the students in short lectures. This enables the students to go a little deeper with topics such as religious beliefs and customs, the role of women, socialism, communism, agricultural practices, colonial history, school life, patriotism/nationalism, national language policy, and the environment, with the focus on enabling the students to compare their culture and experience with the content in the video, or to offer their opinion on ideas that they might not have much familiarity with. Note also that some of the After Watching Questions are the same for different countries as I want the students to compare the country with their own, and because I don’t show all of the videos in the series.

3. Quizzes (Download PDF below):

a. The quizzes are more to test the students’ listening and notetaking skills rather than their memories. Therefore I let them use their notes while taking it.

b. The questions are based on the information that the students research and give mini oral reports on in their small groups. The questions also come directly from the video or Country Handout.

c. The questions are all True/False or short answer, and are therefore easily corrected in class.

d. There is no answer key at this time as I partially rewrite the quizzes each year based on what the students say in their mini-reports. The answers, however, can be found either in the Families of the World Fact Books in the Teacher’s Guides available online at the Families of the World website, or in the videos themselves.

e. Note: There is no quiz for Australia as my students have not yet watched it.


1. The DVDs have Closed-captions and subtitle features. As the younger narrator’s voices are sometimes a little difficult to make out for lower level ESL/EFL students, I recommend using that feature. Or, perhaps, you they can watch it one time with subtitles, and one time without.

2. If a computer room is available on campus, use one class to guide the students through the research for their first oral mini-report.

3. These materials are a work in process, though most of them have been used by the students, and modified based on their feedback. However, if you notice any errors or shortcomings, please feel free to bring them to my attention at cramer.tracy (at) gmail.com

4 . And finally, none of this work would have been possible without the considerable amount of work already done by the creators and producers at Arden Media and Master Communications, work that can be found in the scripts, discussion questions, quizzes and Fact Books in the Teacher’s Guides, available online at the Families of the World website.

Tracy Cramer

If you are unable to download the guides, please send contact us via e-mail to info@familiesoftheworld.com

You will find clips for all of the countries here at youtube


Download Handouts and Quizzes

Title of programs

Country Handouts

Families of Australia

Australia Handout.pdf

Not yet developed

Families of Brazil

Brazil Handout PDF

Brazil Quiz PDF

Families of Canada

Canada Handout PDF

Canada Quiz

Families of China

China Handout PDF

China Quiz PDF

Families of Costa Rica

Costa Rica Handout PDF

Not yet developed

Families of Egypt
Families of France

France Handout PDF

France Quiz PDF

Families of Ghana

Ghana Handout PDF

Ghana Quiz PDF

Families of India

India Handout PDF

India Quiz PDF

Families of Israel

Israel Handout PDF

Israel Quiz PDF

Families of Japan

Japan Handout PDF

Japan Quiz PDF

Families of Korea

Korea Handout PDF

Korea Quiz PDF

Families of Mexico

Mexico Handout PDF

Mexico Quiz PDF

Families of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Handout PDF

Puerto Rico Quiz PDF

Families of Russia

Russia Handout PDF

Russia Quiz PDF

Families of Sweden

Sweden Handout PDF

Sweden Quiz PDF

Families of Thailand

Thailand Handout PDF

Thailand Quiz PDF

Families of United Kingdom

United Kingdom Handout PDF

United Kingdom Quiz PDF

Families of USA

USA Handout PDF


Families of Vietnam

Vietname Handout PDF

Vietnam Quiz PDF

 Purchase the full videos if you wish here