Topic 5 – Geographical, historical and cultural framework of English speaking countries. Didactic application of the most significant geographical, historical and cultural aspects.

Topic 5 – Geographical, historical and cultural framework of English speaking countries. Didactic application of the most significant geographical, historical and cultural aspects.

Nowadays the most accepted instructional framework in second language syllabuses is the Communicative language teaching. ( this theoretical term….).

In 2001, The Common European framework of Reference for languages highlighted the importance of the knowledge of socio-cultural aspects and replaces the term socio-cultural competence by that of Intercultural competence. IC refers to the ability to understand cultures, including your on, and use this understanding to communicate with people from other cultures successfully.

In 2016 the UNESCO´S document on Intercultural competence stated that the intercultural competence as a key element for relationship building and as means of resolving conflicts between different cultural groups.

In 2013 the organic law on the improvement of quality in education ( LOMCE) 8/2013, Dec 9th established as the main goal in primary education to achieve communicative competence in at least two one or two languages. It also describes key competences amongst which we find the social and civic competence. The former implies an appreciation and enjoyment of art and other manifestations of culture and the latter reinforces the idea of being able of putting oneself in the place of others, accepting differences, being tolerant and respecting the values and beliefs and personal collective history of those around.


Tomalin, B ( 1996) In his work “ cultural awareness” argued that the teaching of culture in language teaching should include:

● Cultural knowledge, known as the “BIG C”. the knowledge of culture´s institutions, which comprises history, geography, main institutions, literature, arts and music.

● Cultural values: the psiqué of the country, including beliefs such as patriotism, hospitality etc.

● Cultural behavior, which deals with aspects of the everyday living ( food and drinks), public holidays, leisure activities, hobbies and sports.

● Cultural skills: using the English knowledge (verbal and non-verbal) as medium of interaction.


The Commonwealth of Nations, is an intergovernmental organization of 52 member states that are mostly former territories of the British Empire. It dates back to the Mid-20th Century with the decolonization of the British Empire and the increased self-governance of its territories. The symbol and head is Elizabeth II, queen of England. Within the members there are 31 republics, and 21 monarchies, 16 of them still have Queen Elizabeth as their Queen.

We are going to describe some of the most important aspects of the main members because due to time restrictions it is impossible to cover each of the members.

1. United kingdom: The United Kingdom of great Britain and Northern Ireland ( henceforth UK) is made up of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

It is a Constitutional Monarchy with a parliamentary system. The Monarch is Queen Elizabeth and its capital is London.

Geographically is defined as a group of islands in northern Europe. North western coast of the continental Europe. It occupies the major part of the British archipelago.

2. Ireland : it is a Republic which covers five-sixths of the island of Ireland. It is a parliamentary democracy and it is separated from the UK by the north channel and the Irish sea. Its capital is Dublin.

Geographically it is worth mentioning a ring of coastal mountains surrounded by low plains at the centre of the island. The river Shannon is the longest.

3. USA: The United States of America is a constitutional federal republic composed by 50 states, a federal district and five self-governing territories .The US territories are scattered around the Pacific ocean and the Caribbean sea. 48 states belong to north America between Canada and Mexico. Due to its extension the geography, climate and wildlife are extremely diverse. Worth mention main cities ( new York, Boston and Washington ( the capital) on the east coast and san Francisco, Las Vegas and los Angeles in the west coast.

4. Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia is a county comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is a liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy.


We will offer an overview of the British History and add some details linked to the historical relations amongst them.

The UK is an European region with a long and storied history. The first humans arrived in the Ice Age and built the ancient megalithic Stonehenge. During the 700 BC the Celts arrived to the island and in the 43 BC the Romans conquered the territory. In the 5th century the Anglo-Saxons win Britannia again from the Romans and together with the jutes ruled for almost for centuries.

9th C the Vikings arrived from Scandinavia and occupied the northern territories.

1066 The Norman conquest invasion ended at the battle of Hastings and William I the Conqueror became the king and established French as the official language.

12th there was a civil war between Henry II and Richard I known as Lionheart ( Robin Hood legend).

13th C king Edward invaded Wales and Scotland (legend of king Arthur starts).

14th C was marked by the 100 years war and the Black Death which killed one third of England and European population.

15th C was namely the Tudor Age, Henry VII became the king after the war of Roses.

16th C known as the Elizabethan Era, worth mentioning the figure of William Shakespeare. It was the golden age of the British Empire. In the Mid 16th the English defeated the Spanish Armada and Henry VIII created the church of England and they became a single state.

17th C Started with James VI of Scotland who became king of the Unified England and Scotland. They created the Union Flag (actual British flag). This developed a civil war which main incident remained known as the Gunpowder plot. Guy Fawkes was an important figure and it is still used as a symbol of disagreement with institutions. ( V. Vendetta).

In the USA in 1606 the Virginia Company was founded. It was set by two expeditions and in 1620 the pilgrims established themselves in Massachusetts which is known by the Salem witch trials.

The 18th C in 1702 Queen Anne began her reign and started the rule of the Hannovers. In 1707 the act of union between Scotland and England was passed.

Regarding Ireland there were several discrimination laws against the Catholics and native Gaelic language was banned from schools.

In the USA the 18th century was an important century because they lived the Great Awakening and after seven years of war and a series of intolerable Acts they obtained their independence in 1776. After the independence there was a civil war which main issue was the abolition of Slavery.

Criminals from the American war were sent to Australia which was discovered in the same century.

19th C During the 19th c Britain was transformed by the industrial revolution, and it was a political and social unrest in Britain. In the overseas, they created the east India Company and conquered India and some Asian territories.

Ireland suffered a natural disaster called The Great Famine or the Great Hunter, due to a potato infection it was a period of mass starvation, it ended with a massive emigration from the territory.

20th Britain changed hugely during the 20th century. It was marked by the two World Wars and the interwar period. Ireland gained its independence in 1922 and Australia in 1901. Amongst the events in the 20th century is worth mentioning the women right to vote, the civil rights movement in America and the Easter rising in Ireland.

Nowadays in the 21th century we shall mention the process of Brexit in which UK has left the European Union and the first black president in the history of the USA ( Barack Obama).

Incluir literature del tema 15/16.


In our daily practice we should approach our students with themes they might be interested in. History is not usually the case so we might focus on the first years of ESO with the cultural Behaviour.

We should include in our syllabus units about typical food and traditions in the English countries. We have prepared a calendar with main traditions.

January ( New Years and Burn’s Night in Scotland)

February (Saint Valentines).

March (Saint Patrick’s in Ireland and Saint Davids in Wales)

April ( 1st fools day and 4th mother’s day, 23rd Saint George)

May the first Trooping of the colours.

June and July ( summer festivals and notting hill carnival). ( 4th July the independence of the USA).

October ( Halloween, Thanksgiving and black Friday)

November ( Guy fawkes and bonfire night).

December ( Christmas and Boxing day).