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Celebrating Black History Month in the ESL Classroom

Guest blog post by Taynim Johnson – ESL Associate and Editor, Literacy ConneXus

It’s February 4th, and here in the wonderful US of A that means that it’s Black History Month. This means it’s the perfect time to add a little history to our lessons. In addition to being an extremely important part of US history that every American should be educated on, African American history is also important for our students to know about.

African American history gives students insight into the history of our country, helps them learn about the people who helped shape their new home, and is also an important part of the civics and naturalization test that many of our students have their sights set on passing.

But we don’t teach history classes; we teach English. So, how do we work Black History Month into our ESL classes?

Check out these great sites and pick an activity to suit your fancy!

Learn English by the British Council has a great activity for Black History Month. It includes a preparation task with vocabulary, readings over the origins of Black History Month in the US and in the UK, events in current Black history, Black history year round, two activities, and a discussion.

We Are Teachers compiled a list of 42 Black History Month activities for February (and Beyond). Their activity list includes gems such as: Virtually visiting the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, New York; learning about the first black president in the United States: Barack Obama; watching videos about Black history; and listening to podcasts about Black history. 

CAELA, or the Center for Adult English Language Acquisition, has also compiled a great list of ESL Activities for African-American History Month. They’ve even separated their activities into beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. Their activities include tasks such as bingo, pair dictation, and poetry discussions. has a great list of activities with famous African Americans in history where students can learn about the historical figures, take a civics quiz for comprehension gauging, and complete short tasks like crossword puzzles.

Of course, there are many other activities one could do. How do you incorporate Black History month into your ESL classes?

As always, blessings and happy teaching!

Originally posted on the Literacy ConneXus blog, February 4, 2022; reposted here with permission.

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