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Cultural Mindfulness - Novice High

Lesson Information

Positive Psychology Learning Outcomes

Students will...

  1. be exposed to cultures different from their own. 
  2. practice awareness and responsiveness when discussing others’ cultures.

Language Learning Outcomes

Students will...

  1. understand the speaker's point of view. 
  2. adequately supports ideas and opinions with facts, examples, and reasons.
  3. connects content to background knowledge.

Materials Needed


Connecting mindfully to your own culture and keeping an open and compassionate mindset while learning about other cultures is the focus of this lesson. Understanding your own culture can help create a sense of belonging and well-being. The same is true when we understand more about our friends’ culture on a larger scale.

Activate Background Knowledge

Have students discuss some of the differences they may have observed between their culture and the culture they're currently living in:

  • What kinds of food do you eat in your culture? What kinds of food do people eat in the US?
  • What language(s) do you speak in your culture? What language(s) do people speak in the US?
  • How do you show politeness in your culture? How do people show politeness in the US?
  • What kind(s) of music do you listen to in your culture? What kind(s) of music do people listen to in the US?

Activity 1: Listening/Speaking 

Have the students watch this video. Before watching, tell them to be respectful of all cultures and to recognize that there are differences even within one culture.

Dining Customs Around the World 

Discuss the following questions with a partner:

  • What surprised you in the video?
  • What are some dining customs in your country?
  • What are some dining customs in the US?

Activity 2: Listening/Speaking 

Have each student find a partner and interview him or her on different aspects of their partner’s culture. Write the answers to the following questions.

  • What language does your country speak?
  • What does your flag look like?
  • What Holidays does your culture celebrate?
  • What other symbols does your culture have? (Animals, plants, etc)
  • What are some other aspects of your culture that are important to you? (music, sports)
  • What is one thing that surprised you about American culture when you first arrived?

After everyone has interviewed their partner, switch partners and have them tell their new partner about their old partner’s culture using the interview information that they recorded before. 

Activity 3: Listening/Speaking

Have students watch the following video

Looking at the world with other glasses: how to understand cultural misunderstanding 

Discuss the following questions with a partner or as a class: 

  • What country is the preschool in?
  • What cultures are the different kids from?
  • Were there differences in the cultures? What differences?
  • Did you go to pre-school? Did your neighbor?
  • How is school in the US different from school in your country? 

Activity 4: Listening/Speaking

Greetings From Around the World | Travel Channel 

Have students watch this video with traditional greeting gestures from different countries. Then have students share with a partner their answers to the following questions.

  • How do you greet people in your culture?
  • Do you use any of the gestures in the video?
  • Did any gestures confuse or surprise you when you came to America?

Activity 5: Speaking

Have students find a picture of one food that they feel represents their culture. Have everyone stand up, find a partner, and tell them:

  • What ingredients are in the food
  • How long it takes to make
  • How they eat it (with other foods? with a grain such as rice or bread?)
  • When they eat it (breakfast, lunch, dinner, at a holiday)


Have students talk to someone from a different culture and find out something interesting that they didn’t know before. Have them write down what they find to share with classmates on Thursday. 



Discuss the following quote with the students. “The key to community is the acceptance, in fact the celebration of our individual and cultural differences. It is also the key to world peace.”
- M. Scott Pack

  • What does this quote mean? 
  • Do you agree? Why or why not? 

Share thoughts with a partner.


Have students find a song they enjoy from their country, from the US, or from any country. Have them play part of their song to a partner, then switch and have them listen to their partner’s song. Have them tell what country their song is from and what type of music it is. Also, have them share why they like that particular style of music.


Divide students into groups of 3-5. Have students share what they learned about another culture through the homework.