Interracial Marriage — a Talking Points lesson plan

Many people today marry someone from another country, another culture.

This lesson plan covers the difficulties of an interracial marriage. There could be cultural differences and this may present some issues to the couple.

This is a great lesson to teach students about interracial marriage. You can use it in your English or ESL lesson. Also great for any IELTS speaking class.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

 


 

Introduction

 

Does your country have interracial marriages?

What do you think of interracial marriage?

Should people only marry people from their own country and culture? Why/why not?

 


Reading

 

“When we first got together, everything was just fine.” Michael shakes his head. “Now all we seem to do is argue about things that seem irrelevant and silly.”
Michael is from England. He is married to Cici who is from China. He met her while teaching English. They went on a few dates, fell in love and got married.
“I had never known a girl like her,” says Michael. “She seemed so different from other girls I had known before. She was very traditional. She still is. But now —”
He trails off and looks away in the distance. Beside him, Cici has been very quiet. Until now.
“He is a good person,” she says. “But sometimes he is very irresponsible. He is a man, physically. But mentally he is just like a little boy.”
The arguments started when Cici said that Michael could no longer meet his friends in the bar. Every Friday it became a kind of routine. Michael and all his pals would meet in the bar and catch up with each other’s news and stories.
“I need to see them and talk to them,” says Michael. “They are also foreigners living in China. So we need to chat and let off steam. And I need to have friends. What is wrong with that?”
Cici rolls her eyes.
“I need him to stay at home. We should be saving money. If not, how can we buy a house? And we need to think about having a baby.”
All of this is too much of a rush for Michael. “I know we would start a family. But it seems like this is too soon. I feel like we are both still too young to have a baby. We could enjoy our lives before then.” Michael looks at Cici. “What is wrong with that?”
“But I can’t wait that long,” she says. “In China, we should show respect to our parents by giving them a grandchild. We have been married for nearly one year and all my mother talks to me about is having a baby. When are you going to have a baby? That is all she asks me every day.”
Michael chips in again. “Please don’t talk to me about the mother,” he says. “She thinks she can come to our home any time she likes. She even has her own key. I would never let my own mother do that. But here…”
“But she is my mother,” says Cici. “She is part of the family. Part of our family. We should let her come and see us whenever she wants. Do we treat her like a visitor every time she knocks at the door?”
Michael runs a hand through his hair and shakes his head again.
“I don’t know what to do,” he says. “I feel like I am married to both of them. Not just Cici. It’s driving me mad.”
Cici buries her face in her hands then looks up.
“But this is how we do things here,” she says. “If you don’t like it —”
Michael looks at her. “Then what?”

(All names have been changed to protect people’s identities.)

 


Reading Comprehension Questions

 

How were things between Michael and Cici at the beginning of their relationship?

How about now?

Where is Michael from? Where is Cici from?

How did they meet?

What qualities did Michael like about Cici at the beginning?

Does Cici think Michael is a real man? Why not?

What problems does Cici have with Michael?

What problems does Michael have with Cici?

What plans does Cici have for their future? How does Michael feel about it?

What part does Cici’s mother play in their relationship?

How long have Michael and Cici been married?

Does Michael like his mother-in-law?

Do they settle their disagreement at the end?

 


Essential Vocabulary

 

irrelevant

silly

dates

to fall in love

traditional

he trails off

distance

irresponsible

physically

mentally

arguments

routine

pals

catch up

let off steam

rolls her eyes

rush

respect

grandchild

to chip in

to knock

runs his hand through his hair

driving me mad

buries her face in her hands

 

Exercise

 

Write down all the words and phrases in your vocabulary notebook. Look in your dictionary

and find the meaning of each word. Write the definition next to each word.

Then make up your own sentences using each word or phrase.

For example:

Notebooka small book with pages of blank paper that students use to make notes when

studying.

I left my notebook at home so I was unable to make any notes in my English class.”

 


Happy Ever After

 

You are a marriage guidance counsellor that deals with couples in an interracial marriage.

A couple has approached you for advice. One of the couple is from your own country, the other from another country (you can choose which country).

You need to give them advice to ensure their relationship is very strong and happy.

Work in pairs or small groups.

 


Discussion Questions

 

What is an interracial marriage?

Would you like to marry someone from a different country and culture?

How would your family feel about it?

What do you think the difficulties could be in an interracial marriage?

What would be the advantages of an interracial marriage?

How are interracial marriages regarded in your country/culture?

How will the world change in the future if interracial marriages continue?

Is it just easier to marry someone from our own race/culture? Why/why not?

Do you think the children of an interracial marriage would be happy or unhappy? Do you think they could be bullied at school? Explain your thoughts clearly.

Do people in an interracial marriage have communication problems? Like what?

Do you think there are certain countries or cultures that cannot exist in an interracial marriage? Are there people from some countries that would be incompatible in a marriage with someone from your country? Why?

Would you marry someone from another planet?

 


Writing

 

Write a short essay on your feelings of interracial marriage.

Try to make two clear points in your essay to describe how you feel about it.

Aim for around 500 words if you can.

 


 

What did you think of this lesson? Was it useful for your class?

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