Folklore and Healthcare

Time: 45 – 60 minutes
Level: Intermediate and advanced

Whenever teachers go to class sick, students are always ready with a wealth of advice. This advice ranges from good to truly absurd. This oral activity explores this concept of health advice and home remedies.

Although this activity is more interesting in an ESL setting, it is equally successful in the EFL classroom

Divide the students into small groups of 4-5. Write the questions on the board and ask the students to discuss them with their group.

Have you ever been seriously ill?  If so, explain.
Have you ever broken a bone or been in a cast?
Are you allergic to anything?
What is the most common reason most people see the doctor?

After 10 – 15 minutes have the students report to the class some of the more interesting answers they received.

Have the students return to their groups and discuss the following common illnesses and health problems. Inform them that they can not see a doctor at this time and they need to treat the problem at home.

A cold
A headache
A bee sting
A toothache
A sore throat

Have the students report the advice and remedies that were discussed in their group. Write some of the answers on the board. Introduce the words folklore, folk remedy and wife’s tale. Ask the students if they think any of the suggested remedies are simply folklore or if they really work?

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