Social and cultural communication






Didactic unit

TOPIC: Social and Cultural Communication

a)                  Fairy Tales and Youth Literature

b)                  Customs and Traditions

c)                  Buildings and Landscapes

d)                  Arts

e)                  Do´s and Don´ts

f)                    Idioms and Proverbs

g)        Non Verbal Communication and Games

LEVEL: Intermediate (B1, B2)


Social and Cultural Information:

Information about the impact of multicultural aspects on everyday life

Understanding and peace :  approach through cultural background



General Objectives

bulletTo increase understanding between people from different European cultures
bulletTo provide information about different aspects of European culture
bulletTo provide information about different cultural topics e.g. description of customs and traditions (b), buildings and landscapes (c), arts (d),…
bulletTo enhance the awareness of intercultural similarities and differences and cultural background
bulletTo improve the ability to understand and use idioms and proverbs correctly and in the correct context (f)
bulletTo raise interest in each others customs and traditions
bulletTo make learners aware of the importance of understanding other cultures as an essential basis for peace in Europe
bulletTo increase social interaction within the learners´ group
bulletTo stimulate intercultural interest
bulletTo improve learners´ reading skills
bulletTo improve learners´ speaking skills
bulletTo improve learners´ grammatical competence

Specific objectives



bulletTo enable learners to recognize cultural signals
bulletTo help learners avoid making cultural “faux pas”
bulletTo enable learners to identify typical behaviour in  different parts of Europe and to understand it
bulletTo enable learners to speak about cultural aspects in Europe
bulletTo enable learners to write about cultural aspects in Europe
bulletTo enable learners to evaluate the impact of their own culture on others
bulletTo enable learners to react in the correct way  in some intercultural situations
bulletTo have a look at language patterns, e.g. rhyming, repetition of words, refrains (a – f )

To share experiences between teacher and students about their different narrating/reading/listening curricula.


To increase the comprehension in three important dimensions: Global (story); selective (introduction, argument and highlights, climax and epilogue); and detailed (description of characters, landscape). (a , c…)


To practise the presentation of a tale (expression).(a)


To stimulate the learners’ imagination by telling the story from a particular character’s perspective.(a-c-…..)


To point out the role of customs and traditions in daily life (b)


To reflect on the intercultural impact of customs and traditions in Europe  


Didactic material



bulletPictures, postcards, playing cards
bulletVocabulary lists/cards
bulletInternet information
bulletMagazines, newspapers, books, …..
bulletGrammar rule sheets when required
bulletSelection of books: e.g. “Little Red Riding Hood”- Brothers Grimm , “The Happy Prince”- Oscar Wilde, “Adventures of Tom Sawyer” - Mark Twain, “The Ugly Duckling ”- Anderson

            “Gulliver`s travels” - Jonathan Swift, “Tales From the

           Thousand and One Nights” – Anonymous, “Robin Hood” – etc.             (a)

bulletIllustrations from one story/book (a)



bulletteacher reads/presents in seminar style– students listen.
bulletteacher asks questions – students answer (guided communication)
bulletplenary discussion
bulletworking groups
bulletrole play: students act/play the tale’s characters
bulletsee units below  





bulletcheck the students´ progress regularly
bulletcheck if the students are able to repeat information and to apply linguistic structures used during the lesson
bullettest grammatical knowledge
bulletcontrol the involvement of each student (e.g. by doing exercises…)
bulletalso see further evaluation after all exercises


Further information:



Internet sites

Books about culture and arts - ICC-EUROLTA Spanish seminar´s material – own private pictures collection

Pictures and more : see


Expected results:


See “Objectives”




a) Fairy Tales and Youth Literature


Social and Cultural Information:

Through fantasy and the enchantment of classical children’s and adolescent tales we can find

and enhance of old moral values, still permanent and essential for humanity: love, goodness, courage, generosity, solidarity, friendship, understanding, etc.

Internationally famous children’s and adolescent literature as a masterpiece of cultural development.


                                                          Plan of the lesson



Teacher’s (T) and student’s (S) activities

1) 30’













2) 45’





3) 60’








·        various children and youth books

·        sheets with the consecutive illustrations/picture book of a story (not in chronological order)

·        sheets with key vocabulary is provided

·        summary of the story (either from memory or by a written concept)


T. presents a selection of children’s and adolescent literature (books).

S. comment – “I know this book” etc.

T. explains the objectives of his/her lesson (s.a.): “Today we will talk about classical c.& y. literature”

T. hands out to each S. a sheet with the illustrations  and a sheet with key vocabulary of the tale she/he is going to work with (not in chronological order).

T. introduces the story in the form of a brief summary, presenting it with expression, emphasizing specific literacy structures, considering the highlights of the tale with dramatic effects.

S. listen, take notes, and in the meantime put the illustrations in the right chronological order (numbering).

T. encourages spontaneous reactions, asking: Have you heard this tale before? Which part of the tale is your favourite? Do you have similar tales in your country? What kind of tales used you to hear or read when you were a child? Who used to tell you stories? What about the authors in your country? etc.

(Acc. to number of S., T. forms 2 or 3 groups)

S. reconstruct the story based on the illustrations and discuss it within their groups. Each group selects one narrator and a number of actors – each S. should have a role to play, highlighting the variety of possible perspectives (e.g. the wolf’s).

S. present their version/interpretation to the plenary.

Through a guided dialogue introduced by the teacher, the students relate their experience with this topic.



Annex 1: Selection of Fairy Tales and Youth literature






b) Customs and Traditions


                                                         Plan of the lesson



Student’s  activities

1) 5´- 10´


Pictures of situations  festival days


·        give the name of the festival

·        explain where the  festival is celebrated and why

2) 15´

·        The same cards or


·        Sheet with 

      comparison rules

·        explain how the festival is celebrated in your home-country and if it is celebrated

·        is it celebrated all over the country,

     or only in parts?


3) 20´

Cards with objects in relation to customs and traditions (e.g. Santa Claus, Easter eggs ...)

·        Describe the object and in which tradition you use it

·        Why do you use it ?

·        Is there a religious background or is it especially in one country or region?


4) 15´


Conversation part

·        Think of a tradition

·        The classmates are going to ask you questions to find out what you have in mind

·        Only “yes” and “no” answers are allowed

·        When your tradition has been guessed, speak about it for a few minutes

(Example: Easter

I thought about Easter. In my home country is it the most important Christian holiday of the year. We go to church early in the morning to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus. When we’re at home again, the children search for “nests” (bowls with grass, gifts and coloured, boiled eggs and chocolate- and jelly-eggs), which the Easter-rabbit has hidden in the garden. After that we have a large brunch together with all members of the family.)

5) 5´


conversation part

·        Ask your students to reflect about the following questions and to explain to their classmates if traditions are the same in their country :

·        Why are customs and traditions useful?

·        How do you celebrate festivals now,

      if you are originally from different

     country with different customs?




Appendix 1


Fill in the following grid:

Which festival do you celebrate at which time of the year?

And how is it celebrated?






All year


Midsummer night





End of the school

Harvest festival

New year



Appendix 2 /Grammar

Describe the activities at the festivals in different tenses, e.g. every birthday I get a birthday cake; last birthday I got a birthday cake; on my next birthday I will get a birthday cake etc…


Appendix 3/Geography

Take a map of  Europe and mark where the various customs are used



c) Buildings and Landscapes




Landscapes have a predominating influence on buildings. As landscapes are a product of geographical situation and climate, buildings are influenced by the same conditions.

Landscapes and buildings also influence the behaviour of the population, the way of thinking, the social rules and the communication between people of different regions.

Original, untouched nature and landscapes can hardly be found in certain European countries e.g. in Germany or in the Netherlands – even if there are spots left “unspoiled” where humans did not interfere in the natural development . If one considers in comparison a country like Norway, the environment  is totally different. The relationship between human interference in nature and the population density per square kilometres can not be denied. The population density automatically leads to different  kinds of town planning and to more or less human intervention in the development of nature and landscapes.

The way populations handle their natural environment is certainly strongly related to the climate of a country but also to history, to the level of education, to industrialization, to economical influences and more.

To survive is the primary aim of human beings. This is the basis on which civilisations were and are built.

The natural environment determines what kind of houses are built.

For example, a wooden lodge or chalet in the Alps is built with trees of local forests as their wood is well adapted to the climate and the inhabitants´ needs. But the same chalet would hardly be appropriate, for example in the south of Greece, as the climate and the population´ s needs are totally different from a  colder country.

Early civilisations used to use locally found material to build their habitations. The demand for building material from regions farther away always increases when the economical situation of a country develops positively. This has also a positive influence on the development and blossoming of arts.

To encourage reflection upon the role of buildings and landscapes from an intercultural point of view is the aim of the following exercises.



Plan of the lesson



Student’s activities

1) 10´


·        Pictures of different houses (see pictures box 1 below) and landscapes (see pictures box 2 below)

·        Vocabulary list: name of different European types of houses (see list 1 below)

·        Questions cards (see suggestions box for questions 1 below

·        The students receive houses and landscapes cards/pictures and should give the name of each house (e.g. chalet, villa, skyscraper,…) and decide in which landscape it could fit

·        The students also guess in which European country these houses and landscapes are likely to be found

·        The students answer the questions on the question cards

·        What colours of houses are related to the climate of a country  e.g. white houses in southern European countries, red brick houses in Belgium, in North Germany and  Poland ? The students reflect upon the reasons why there is a relationship between the colour of a house , the climate and the way of life of the population and discuss this topic

2) 20´

·        ROLE PLAY with

     same houses and

     landscapes cards as

     step 1

·        Cards with persons name and professions (see cards box 2

     below )

·        Form groups of 4 – 5 learners

·        Each learner introduces himself to the group according to the identity given on the card

·        Learners ask each other questions about their house ( e.g. when was it built, if the person has been living there for a long time, if a garden belongs to the house, etc….)

·        Learners ask each other questions about the landscape (e.g. if it is very green, if there are forests nearby, if they have got problems with water, if it has changed a lot during the last 10 years …)

3) 30´

·        Cultural quiz related to “Buildings and Landscapes” with multiple choice answers (see quiz below)

·        Form groups of 2-3 learners

·        Sweets as prizes for winners and the other groups, too are always welcome

·        Each group receives a sheet with all the questions and chooses a name for the group (e.g. “the Unbeatables”, “The Lions”, “The Scientists”,….)

·        Each group answers the questions and when ready gives the sheet to the group on the right side

·        Each group corrects the answers while the teacher is reading the solution

4) 4 hours

·        Hotel brochures

·        Pictures of hotels 

·        Sample for creating a brochure (see example below)

·        The students should be asked to bring scissors, glue, coloured sheets of paper…


* role play with hotel guests and staff : booking, arrival, complains, getting information….


·        Each group can choose a picture of a hotel

·        The students should compile a brochure as advertisement for the hotel

·        It is important to reflect on :

·        the situation of the hotel

·        the kind of hotel (for tourists, business, holiday parks,…)

·        the number of rooms

·        the facilities

·        the restaurant/menu

·        the leisure facilities

·        the sights in the area

·        sports activities

·        ….

·        Each group should present a completed brochure and explain why their hotel is particularly attractive.




Picture Box 1: Houses


Art Nouveau in   Hotel in Wales  Hotel in England  Art Nouveau in  Houses in Aveiro          Budapest                                                          Budapest          Portugal                                                                                    



Cathedral of          Cathedral of          Roman Church        Cathedral/            Notre-Dame 

Reims/France       Speyer/Germany     in Alsace/France      Burgos/Spain       Paris / France



 Mas in Provence/France  Villa in Provence      Older country house      Monsaraz/Algarv                     

                                                                  in Belgium                     in Portugal



  Chartres/France       Roman Abbey in       Houses in Mallorca      Buildings in Munich

  Gothic cathedral        Orval/Belgium


   Roman part of St.     Segovia Church        Drvenik-Veli-Croatia-houses       Wooden house in



Picture Box 2: Landscape


Provence-France        Chania – Crete     Gorges du Verdon    Landscape in Wallonia

                                         Greece                     France                          Belgium


Winter landscape    Austria – mountain   Santori in Greece    Ramatuelle in        Sein Island in

in Germany                                                                   Provence/France       Britanny /France


Tinos/Greece     Landscape in Jura/France   and in  Alsace      Belgium seaside



Sunset / Lake in Olching      Landscape in Mallorca                Landscape in Malta



European Cultural Quiz : Buildings and Landscapes

 The teacher gives the quiz to each group of learners. These have to answer each question and get one point for each correct answer. Several answers to a question can be right (there is not always only one correct answer). The sheet with the answers is passed to the next group and the teacher reads the correct answers. The points are added and the group with the most points is the winner….and gets more sweets than the other groups.

After the quiz students should be encouraged to speak about landscape, architecture and  famous buildings, etc… in their country.

1.      From where did Art Nouveau spread in Europe?

a) from Brussels

b) from Athens

c) from Prague

d) from Florence


2.      Which Art Nouveau architects were particularly famous ?

a) Christo

b) August Hendell

c) Victor Horta

d) Antoni Gaudi



3.      What is typical for Art Nouveau buildings?

a) the façade is hardly


b) flowers are mostly part of

    the facade decoration

c) windows are made of plain


d) Decoration is mostly

    designed with straight lines

4.      Art Nouveau started

a) at the end of the 19th century

b) at the beginning of the 20th


c) after World War I

d) after World War II

5.      Art Nouveau furniture is mostly made from

a) cherry

b) mahogany

c) ash

d) pine

6.      In a typical Greek coffee house :

a) women are not allowed to

    go in

b) one does not get anything

    to eat

c) coffee is served in large


d) coffee is mostly drunk

    without sugar

7.      In a Viennese coffee house:

a) one always gets a glass of

    water with the coffee

b) the most famous coffee

    house is the “Sacher”

c) cakes are not served at all

d) there is a large choice of

    creamy cakes


8.      In a Belgian coffee house:

a) tables are usually only for

    4 persons

b) one gets cakes and ice


c) one is not allowed to


d) the cakes are the same

    as in Vienna


9.      In an English coffee house:

a) one gets cakes and


b) there is only one sort of tea

c) only tea or coffee is served

d) it is not suitable to sit at a

    table where somebody is

    already sitting


10.  In France :

a) all farms are made of grey


b) the word “mas” is used for

    a typical kind of house in

    the South

c) castles are mostly near


d) old farms consist of 4

    buildings arranged in a

    square and closed with a wooden door

11.In the German Alps

a) in the summer cattle  are

    kept in higher alpine

    regions by shepherds living

    in small remote huts

b) there are paintings on lots

    of houses in Alpine villages

c) there are often stones on an

    alpine house to hold on the


d) German alpine houses are

    mostly made of red bricks

12.In a Spanish village:

a) there is usually a mosque

b) houses have often got a

    patio and balconies

c) roads are quite wide

d) houses are mostly white

13.  In a Polish village:

a) Most houses have got a


b) Houses are made of red


c) Houses are all alike in a


d) Houses are painted in

    bright colours



14.  Between 1946 and 1995

       official buildings in

       Eastern Europe were

       built in:

a) Roman style

b) Neo Classical Style

c) Rococo Style

d) Empire Style

15.  Canary Wharf Tower:

a) is in Edinburgh

b) is 245 meters high

c) was built by the architect

    Cesar Pelli

d) has 55 stairs

16.These buildings /

     monuments were built

    after  World War  II .

    Where are they ?

a) Atomium: Amsterdam,

    Innsbruck,Bruxelles, Oslo

b)Guggenheim Museum:

    Rom, Helsinki, Bilbao,


c) Museum of Modern

    Art: Den Haag, Munich,

    Nice, Budapest

d) The highest skyscraper in

    Europe in 2004 was in

    Paris, Valetta, Frankfurt,




17. In European countries

     the logo for post offices is


a) a letter

b) a mailbag

c) a post horn

d) a post coach


18. In European countries

      the logo for a chemist

     (pharmacy) is mostly

a) a cross

b) a snake

c) a half moon

d) a bottle of pills

19. Austria´ s landscape is


a) plain

b) hilly

c) mountainous

d) dry

20. Lithuania´ s landscape is


a) sandy

b) mountainous

c) wooded sparely

d) agrarian areas

21. In the southern part

      of the United Kingdom

a) the landscape is hilly

b) there are no beaches

c) cottages always have a

    front garden

d) house fences are usually

    made of crossed wooden



22. Mallorca´ s

a) agrarian fields are

   separated by low fences

   built with local stones

b) typical houses are made of


c) beaches are covered with

    volcanic sand

d) villages always have 

    a church




23. Roman churches can

      be found in

a) France

b) Malta

c) Spain

d) Ireland

24. Typical attributes of

      Roman churches are

a) the bright colours of the


b) the plain columns

c) the impressive stone portal

d) the cross form of the


25. In comparison to the

      Roman Style, typical

      Gothic Style attributes


a) more decorated towers

b) higher church towers

c) smaller portals

d) richly coloured glass


26. Which of the following

       famous churches /

       cathedrals is a Roman

       Style building?

a) Notre-Dame-de-Paris

b) Cathedral of  Speyer

c) Saint Paul´s Cathedral

d) Stephan´s Cathedral

27. Which of the following

      famous churches /

      cathedrals is a Gothic

      Style building?

a) Cathedral of Reims

b) Cathedral of Munich

c) Cathedral of Vilnius

d) Cathedral of Sevilla

28. The famous “English

     Garden” is in

a) Budapest

b) Porto

c) Munich

d) Den Haag

29. The famous “Hill of the

      Crosses” is in

a) Norway

b) Lithuania

c) Cypress

d) Ireland

30. Kew Garden is in

a) Valetta

b) Nicosia

c) London

d) Dublin




Solutions:       1.a  2. b, c, d  3. b , 4. a   5. b  6. d , 7. a, b, d  8. a, b  9. a, d  10. b  11. a, b, c

                        12. b, d  13. a, b 14. b  15. b, c  16. a: Bruxelles, b: Bilbao, c:  Munich d: Frankfurt

                        17. c  18. a  19.  b, c  20. d  21. a, d  22. a, b, d  23. a, c 24. b, c, d  25.  a, b, d

                        26.  b  27. a, d  28. c  29. b  30. c



Example for a description : The Great House (found in


The Great House


Local Favourites

Laleston, Co. Bridgend

Tourist Board: ****

Number of Rooms

Price Guide
US Dollar




standard double



Rates per room per night depending on season.
Price always includes Breakfast and all taxes.

Enquire Here

The Great House

The Great House is a characterful small hotel that combines traditional charm and warm hospitality to make up one of South Wales’ leading hotels and restaurants.

Built in the 1550s, this Grade II listed building was granted as a hunting lodge by Queen Elizabeth I to the Earl of Leicester. More recent royal connections come with Charles Prince of Wales’ visit after it was carefully restored in 1986.

Many original features contribute greatly to the hotel’s historic character, the inglenook fireplace in the cocktail bar, the Dovecote in the south walls, flagstone floors, low stone archways, mullioned windows and ubiquitous oak beam ceilings.

The well-proportioned bedrooms are individually decorated with a tasteful cosy style furnished with antique fittings and finished in fine detail. More sizable accommodation can be found in the renovated out house buildings across the courtyard which offer the same high standards of accommodation.

The charming restaurant is dominated by the wonderful original fireplace and is high regarded locally for its classical cuisine using the finest of local Welsh produce, medallions of fillet of Welsh Black Beef with sautéed wild mushrooms and butternut squash for example, complimented by an interesting wine list. Informal bistro style dining is also available and the charming gardens are veritable suntrap in the summer, ideal for summer drinks on the lawn.

The Great House is situated halfway between Wales’ main cities of Cardiff and Swansea and is close to a choice of golf courses including Royal Porthcawl, Southerndown and Pyle and Kenfig.



d. Arts



In earlier days art was a useful skill, no matter whether in architecture, sculpture or painting. In Europe art began with the cave paintings of our ancestors.

Ancient Greek culture with its clear lines still influences today´s thinking. All architectural forms, sculptures and paintings seem to follow a law which we call “style” (severity and harmony). The Romans invented the arch: an important step in the evolution of world architecture. Then art mainly displayed religious themes from Christianity, Buddhism and Judaism instead of those of heroes and divinities.

From the 5th  century two main art cultures influenced Europe: Roman and Byzantine. During  the Roman period European art came very close to the ideals of the East. Ornamental art from Ireland and England came as a new element in occidental art.

In the 13th century a new invention in architecture, “Ogive” arches, enabled churches to be built higher bringing believers nearer to God and the picture they had of  paradise.

In the 14th century France was Europe’s cultural centre. In the 15th century, a new evolution, the Renaissance - the conquest of reality - developed in Florence. Each country in Europe was searching for its own truth. Nature was seen in a new way. New art schools were establishing in most European countries.

Although rejected particularly in puritan England, Baroque style reached its climax in the 17th century.

The Age of Enlightenment dawned in the 18th century. Traditions and conventions changed  because of the French Revolution. The population felt they were free citizens. Neo-classicism and landscape painting flourished. Romanticism created a new style. Handicraft mastery lost its importance due to industrialisation.

In the 19th century Paris became the capital of painting. Art depended on fantasy, colours, light and shade. The new style of art was Impressionism. Art became more and more simplified; artists were looking for something new. “Art Nouveau” with its rich ornaments originated in Belgium and spread across many parts of Europe. Art became experimental. The new trend in the 20th century called Expressionism mainly started in Germany.

 Traditional art was forgotten but a new solution came from America: the emphasis was no longer  on the “outside” but rather on the “inside”. Painted objects were partly exaggerated or extremely simplified. Cubism and Surrealism, the involvement of the subconscious as well as of  mathematic laws and of the universe brought new issues. Art was free! A new tolerance of experimentation in art has enriched our environment opening the door to a free and peaceful co-existence in Europe.


Exercises for :  Arts


Plan of the lesson



Student’s activities

1) 10´


Word Brain Teaser


·        With the letters of an art term students are to find words which relate to the topic. A dictionary can be used.

     (example: see appendix 1)

2) 15´

Group work : discussion



·        What is art and what is arts and crafts

·        Where is the difference?

·        Since when is there a differentiation between the two?

·        Has there always been a differentiation?

·        Where is which of the two applied?


3) 15´

Group work : visiting an exhibition

What do I need and how do I behave?

·        in a museum of fine arts

·        in a castle

·        in a church

·        at a pottery market

·        in an open-air museum

    (see vocabulary list 1)

4) 15´


·        The students are to make a draft, which is to depict a work of art. Which art era could it derive from (antiquity, classical antiquity, mediaeval time, modern times, modern art, pop art)

(see appendix 2)

5) 25´

Biography of an artist

(see appendix 5)

·        The student should select one of the biographies below and after reading he/she will be questioned by the other students to find out who the artist is. He/she can only answer with “no” or “ yes” .

·        Alternative:  the student tells the life story of the artist after reading the biography.

·        Each student draws a picture and tells the other students that it was painted by a very famous painter. He has to create the story of the painter´ s life.


6) 30´

Contemplation and description of pictures

(written or oral)

·        The teacher hands out photocopies of paintings (see pictures below) and asked the students to reflect upon the meaning of the picture and the intention of the artist

·        The photos of a studio, museum, etc… (see photos below) should be described as precisely as possible (with a lot of details and adjectives)


Appendix 1



      Painter                            Sculptor                        arts and crafts  


p   -   picture                                               s  -  stone                                   a  -        art work

a   -   artist                                                  c  -  chisel                                  c  -        colour 

i    -   impressionism                                    u  -  ustensile                              t   -        timber

n   -   new classic                                        l   -  lifetime                                s   -        shape

t   -    tempera                                             p  -  period                                a   -       abstract

e  -    exhibition                                           t   -  theme                                 n   -       natural

r  -     romanticism                                       o  -  opal                                    d   -       drawing

                                                                  r   -  reproduction                       c  -        cabinet-marker

                                                                                                                    r   -        rarity

                                                                                                                    a   -       ability

                                                                                                                    f          frame

                                                                                                                    t   -        torso

                                                                                                                    s   -       skill  



Appendix 2



The students are to make a sketch which is to depict a work of art. Which art era could it derive from (antiquity, classical antiquity, mediaeval times, modern times, modern art, pop art) ?


Teacher´s information:  short review of art history


Antiquity (pyramids, 2000 to 3000 B.C., Egypt, Tutankhamen, etc.).

Classical antiquity (Acropolis, 500 B.C., Greeks, Athens, vase-painting, etc.)

Romanesque period (Benedictines, monasteries, 11th/12th century, Alsace, Church of St. Trophine, Arles, mediaeval times, Normans, etc.)

Gothic period (Chartres, Notre Dame, Cathedral of Cologne, 12th to 13th century, new world, France, etc.)

Renaissance (perspective, Florence, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, 15th century, Mona Lisa, etc.)

Baroque era and Rococo (Rembrandt, Rubens, Versailles, Ludwig XIV., Melk Monastery, Belvedere Palace, Austria, Holland, etc.)

Age of Enlightenment (18th century, England, France, Revolution, Gainsborough, Voltaire, etc.)

Neo-classicisms (America, architecture, empire, Francisco Goya, etc.)

Romantic period (Turner William, C. D. Friedrich, nature, sentiments, England, breach of

Impressionism (Cezanne, v. Gogh, Paris, light, Manet, Monet, Renoir, etc.)

Art Nouveau (20th century, Belgium, ornaments, Victor Horta, architecture, Gaudí, Spain, etc.)  

Expressionism (Germany, Klee, Kandinsky, Switzerland, fantasy, experiments, Nolde, Norway, Edvard Munch, Russia, etc.)

Cubism (form, surface, cone, sphere, cylinder, Spain, France, Picasso, etc.)

Surrealism (René Manritte/Belgium, Giorgio de Chirico, Giacometti, Alberto/ sculptor, Sigmund Freud, Salvator Dalí, etc.)  

Modern Art (20th century, Giorgio Morandi, Kurt Schwitters, America, Jackson Pollock, pop art, Andy Warhol, etc.)


Appendix 2




Michelangelo  Bounarroti

(1475 – 1564)

Michelangelo was born  1475  in the small  village  of  Caprese near Arezzo in Italy.

His Father placed him in the workshop of the painter Domenico Ghirlandaio. Two years later he studied at the sculptor school in the Medici gardens. His patron died in 1492;  two years later Michelangelo fled Florence and settled in Bologna. 1495 he went to Rom. 1498 –1500 he created the marble sculpture Pietà in Saint Peter´s Basilica. The highlight of Michelangelo´s early style is the gigantic marble sculpture “David” created after returning to Florence. He surpassed all modern artists, but also the Greeks and Romans, by infusing formal beauty with powerful expressiveness. Michelangelo was given two commissions by Pope Julius II in 1505. The most important one  was for the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel ceiling and the tomb of Julius II. Michelangelo´s activity as an architect only began in1519. Between 1519 – 1534 he worked for the commission of the Medici tombs. In the 1520s he also designed the Laurentian Library. In 1541 he finished the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo died on February 18, 1564.


Rembrandt Harmenszoon  van  Rijn

(1606 – 1669)

Rembrandt  was born   in  Leiden in the Netherlands on July 15, 1606. He was a miller´s sun. Rembrandt began his studies at the Latin School and at the age of 14 he was enrolled at the University of Leiden that he left to study art. At the age of 22 he already had his first pupils. Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam where he painted portraits for the “society”. An exceptionally example from his period is the Portrait of Nicolas Ruts (1631). He painted numerous dramatic masterpieces such a “The Blinding of Samson (1636). Saskia van  Uylenburgh, his wife gave  birth  to  4  children; but only the last one survived. She  died in 1642. Hendrickje Stoffels, engaged as his housekeeper and his mistress, was the model for many pictures. His penchant for ostentatious living forced him to declare bankruptcy  in  1656. These problems affected in no way Rembrandt`s work.. Hendrickje died in1663 and his only sun Titus died in 1668 – he was only 27 years old. Rembrandt died on October 4, 1669 in Amsterdam.


Caspar David Friedrich

(1774 - 1840)

The most important romantic-landscape painter, was born in1774 in Greifwald  in Germany. He studied at the Academy in Copenhagen from 1794 – 98. Then he returned to his home country,  Germany and settled in Berlin. Friedrich won a Weimar Art Society prize in 1805 for his pen and ink drawings. In 1807 he was commissioned by Count Thun to create an altar piece for his castle in Teschen Silesia, which Friedrich titled “Crucifixion in Mountain Scenery”. At the Academy Exhibition of 1810  the Prussian crown prince bought 2 paintings and 2 more in 1812. Friedrich was given a teaching position at the Dresden  Academy in 1824 where his work influenced many future German artists. Friedrich`s work consisted mostly of expressive and dramatic landscape with emotional undertones.

Friedrich died on May 7, 1840  in  Dresden.


Claude Monet

(1840 – 1926)

French painter, initiator and leader of the impressionist style. He spent his youth in Le Havre/France. In 1859 he studied in Paris. Monet´s devotion to painting out of doors is illustrated by one of his most ambitious early works “Women in the Garden”. During the Franco-Prussian War 1870 – 71 he took refuge in England: he studied the work of Constable and Turner. From 1871 – 1878 he lived at Argenteuil near Paris where he painted some of the most famous works of the Impressionist movement. From 1890 he concentrated on series of pictures in which he painted the same subject at different times of the day in different lights (“Rouen Cathedral”). In 1899 his attention was focused on the famous water-garden he created at Giverny, which he used as the theme for the series of  water-lilies paintings.

In his final years he was handicapped because of decreasing eyesight but he painted until the  end.


Vincent  van  Gogh

(1853 – 1890)

Vincent van Gogh was born on March, 30, in 1853 at Groot Zundert in the Netherlands.

Today he is one of the most popular Post-Impressionist painters. His works are characterized by expressive colours and energetic application of impasto paint. Vincent and his younger brother Theo were very close all their lives. In 1873 Vincent and his brother started a correspondence which lasted till Vincent ´s death. In 1876 Vincent went  to Margate as a teacher in a school. In 1877 he returned to the Netherlands and became a bookkeeper. In 1880 he moved to Brussels and decided to become an artist. In 1885 he painted “The potatoes Eaters”. In 1886 he moved to Paris with his brother Theo and discovered the Impressionism. In 1888 he moved to Arles, into the Yellow House where he painted nearly 200 pictures like “Sunflowers”. In 1889 he committed himself to St. Remy mental asylum. In 1890 he moved to Auvers and sold his only painting during his lifetime for 400 francs. In 1891 he shot himself and died alone in his little bedroom. His brother Theo died 6 month later. 


Pablo Picasso

(1881 – 1973)

Pablo Picasso was born in South Spain in Malaga. He spent the first 10 years of  his life in Malaga. He studied art with his father at the Art Academy of  La Corua in Galicia. In 1900 he moved to Barcelona. It was his “blue period”,  recognizable by the blue tones in his paintings (1901-1904)

In 1905 Picasso moved to Paris and met George Braque. In 1907 he painted “Les Demoiselles d´ Avignon”. This is considered to be one of his most important works in 20th century art. In 1909 Pablo began to develop his cubism style. Picasso had his first exhibition in  the U.S. Photo-Section gallery in New York (1911). In 1915 he met his wife Olga who was a dancer and in 1936 he  met the famous photographer Dora Maar in Paris. She is well known as a friend,  model and “muse” of Picasso. Their relationship of nearly 9 years coincided with the dark period spanning the years of the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War. In 1937 Nazis were attacking Europe. Picasso responded with his great anti-war painting “Guernica”. During the 1940´s Françoise Gilot became Picasso´s mistress. Jacqueline Roque, whom he met in 1953 and married in 1961 was the last companions to be portrayed in his art. Picasso was one of the few artists to be appreciated and celebrated during his lifetime.


Wassily Kandinsky


Born in Moscow, Kandinsky spent  his early childhood in Odessa. Kandinsky could play  the piano and cello. In1886 he chose to  study law and economics. He enjoyed success not only as a teacher but also as a writer about spirituality. In 1895 Kandinsky attended a French Impressionist exhibition where he saw Monet`s “Haystacks at Giverny”. He thought that the painter had no right to paint in such an imprecise manner to. At the age oft thirty he left Moscow and went to Munich to study life-drawing. Kandinsky`s work moved in a direction that was of much greater abstraction than  pioneered by the Impressionists. He began exploring his own ideas of painting. As a founder of abstract art, his work was exhibited throughout Europe from 1903 onwards. Kandinsky was the  co-founder of the almanach “The Blue Rider” in 1912. In 1933 Kandinsky left Germany and settled in Paris. Miro and Arp visited his studio. The paintings from these later years were again the subject of controversy. Kandinsky continued painting almost  until his death in June 1944.


Jackson Pollock

(1912 – 1956)

American painter. He studied 1929 – 31 in New York City, mainly under Thomas Hart Benton but he was more influenced by the Mexican muralists especially Siqueiros. From 1938 to 42 he worked on the Federal Art Project in New York City. Influenced by surrealism and also by Picasso, he moved toward a highly abstract art in order to express feelings rather than illustrate them. His experimentations led to the development of his famous “drip” technique in which he energetically drew or dripped complicated linear rhythms onto enormous canvases. He sometimes applied paint directly from the tube and he also used aluminium paint to achieve a glittery effect. His vigorous attack on the canvas and his devotion to the very act of painting led to the term ”action painting.”  Pollock had become a symbol of the new artistic revolt, abstract expressionism when he was killed in an automobile accident. His paintings are in many collections, including museums in New York, San Francisco, Dallas and Chicago.


Vocabulary list 1

Admission ticket, cloak room, bag, head scarf, apparel, guided tour, cicerone (person to guide you through an exhibition), head phones, audio device, price list, group ticket, camera, silence, to book, cash register, money, museum shop, talk, alarm, catalogue


Further vocabulary for the topic “Arts”

Art print, model, muse, to produce, to found, career, studio, academy, period, movement, Subject, theme, to create, colour, impasto paint, to discover, lifetime, painting, expressive, century, to celebrate, to appreciate, chronological, epoch, era, light, shadow, alarm, stone, marble, opening day, culture, skill, visual artist, craft objects, art critic, art trade, art scene, work of art, philistine, cabinet-maker, architecture, form, surface, cone, cylinder, sphere , guide, ticket, forgery, technique, picture-frame, expressiveness, realistic, harmony, catalogue installation, performance, oil, etc… 





      J. Pollock                P. Picasso                  M. Rothko                P. Mondrian

      1912-1956              1881-1973                 1903 – 1970             1872 - 1944




J. Miró:  1893 -1958         S. Dali : 1904               F. Marc  : 1880-1916




W. Kandinsky : 1866-1944     M. Buonarotti : 1475 - 1564    C. A.  Coypel – 1728




E. Monet – 1886       G. Klimt – 1905          P.  Klee – 1879-1940       T. Gainsborough –





G. Morandi – 1890-1964  C.D. Friedrich –1774-1840   P. Picasso 1881-1973   E. Kirchner 1880-1938




T. Lautrec 1864-1901   P.Picasso  1881-1973    P. Cézanne 1839-1906     S. Dali  1904-1989




W. Turner 1775-1851     D. Ingres    1780-1867       J. Millais 1829-1896        P. Kopen  1007-1012




    V. van Gogh                 L. da Vinci                     E. Manet                         V. van Gogh                                 1853-1890                       1452-1519                    1832-1883                        1853-1890




          A. Warhol      1962- /        P. A. Renoir  1841-1919        P. Gauguin  1848-1903





                                     Hans Arp   1953                                                A. Giacomatti   1960



                      Hans Arp    1953




Photos of exhibitions and more


(copyright: Hanna Häusler-Strahl – Hélène Sajons.)



 Toulouse Lautrec  -        A coffee shop in a                     Art and Ikebana Exhibition

Exhibition in Munich         Munich museum                       




              hand made carpet                                               atelier



   painting for adults / VHS(Adult Education Centre)                             pottery  



                   sculptors                                                  Modern  Art  Museum /Munich

















                                                                          EU – project exhibition at the Cultural Centre

                     in Olching/Germany 



e. Do´s and Don´ts



There are many possibilities for faux-pas, unintended and especially without knowing, when you get in contact with another culture. Therefore it is very important in our growing unity of Europe, that everybody observes possibilities to avoid faux-pas. Everybody can get into a situation when one feels that there is something wrong, but you don’t know why (what?).

Basically, the teacher speaks with the students about being in such a certain situation. The students are supposed to talk about incidents when they were involved (or others) into an awkward situation. What has gone wrong? Where was the faux-pas? Were there religious, cultural or verbal misunderstandings?


An invitation at 7.00 pm: If necessary, the teacher helps (see frame (box?) below). The students should answer spontaneously.

An invitation has arrived. A lot of questions arise: Where? What time? For a meal or just for drinks? Is the invitation for a visit to the restaurant or to a private house? Should one arrive on time, earlier or any time? Who knows? What is to wear and what is to be taken along.? Flowers e.g.: Do you hand them over wrapped or unwrapped? With the stem up or down? Which flowers are to be chosen? Which flowers are inappropriate? Is something to be brought at all?

What would the table topics be? (In Germany you don’t talk about the holocaust.) Religious or political discussions would be out of place. Table manners, compliments to the hostess are also issues to be discussed. In southern Europe dinner time is long after 7 pm, in northern Europe, 7 pm is dinner time.




Plan of the lesson



Student’s activities

1) 25´


·        The teacher explains a certain situation, e.g. invitation: You are invited this evening at 7 pm.



·        The students discuss the meaning of it. Different opinions. The students discuss the different opinions in small groups, collect the different aspects of their discussion and talk about them in the whole group. At the same time, they take notes of the vocabulary. Unknown (unfamiliar?) words are written on the board.

2) 10´

·        Role play


·        4 students play the invitation according to the tradition of their countries.

·        The other students take notes of what seems alien to them.

3) 30´

·        workshop

·        The students explain the different situations and feelings of propriety and explain, why, for example, 7 pm is not dinner time in their country.

4) 20’

·        The teacher speaks about do’s and don’ts. Each student knows about faux-pas or knows about somebody who’s been in an awkward situation

·        The students talk about their faux pas and at the same time they write down the vocabulary.



Suggestions for other situations :

bulletAssociations: Red roses: love
bulletMuslims: no pork, no alcohol, you may (should?) take off your shoes when entering the house
bulletHead cloths: Muslim ladies or farmer’s ladies
bulletRestaurant: Do I choose my own seat or is one offered to me? Can I sit with strangers at the table? Do I smoke when others eat?
bulletSneeze: Do I respond with well-wishing or politely disregard it?
bulletFirst pay, then eat, e.g. : Italy, depends on the type of restaurant



f. Idioms and Proverbs



Proverbs are succinct and pithy sayings in general use expressing commonly held ideas and beliefs.  Proverbs are part of every spoken language and the same idea is often  found  in different languages. The biblical “ an eye for an eye” is found in many variants in Europe and the English proverb “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” has equivalents in many other European languages.

 Many idioms and  proverbs make use of hyperbole and colourful pictorial expressions. Folk proverbs are commonly illustrated with homely imagery--  household objects, pets, farm animals, food  and events of everyday life that reflect the cultural background. Many common proverbs refer to old customs of that particular culture e.g. “if the cap fits wear it” refers to the medieval fool’s cap. They reflect the cultural background of the language—the superstitions, customs, weather lore or medical advice “Early to bed, early to rise /makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”.

Every language uses idioms to express or reinforce an idea more pictorially and succinctly. Adults use idioms frequently and fluently in their mother tongue and they  are the mark of the fluent speaker. Similar sounding idioms can have a different meaning in other languages or they may exist in a totally different saying e.g.  the English “ carry coals to Newcastle”, but the Germans “carry owls to Athens”.

 Many learners try and translate the idioms of their native language into another language, often with comic results. In order to prevent misunderstandings it is important to give examples of when and how to use the idioms and to provide the equivalent in other languages, if one exists. ”. In English “that’s old hat” (meaning old news) in German would be “that’s cold coffee “. A direct translation of an idiom from one language into another often makes no sense e.g. the English idiom  “it’s raining cats and dogs”.

 Some idiomatic expressions are the same in other languages, however, most are specific to the language and culture and cannot be literally  translated . An idiom is a fixed expression and cannot be altered without altering the sense of the saying and idioms  are best learned as a single unit of language.

 Idioms reflect the cultural background of the language and country .Sometimes the same expression has a different interpretation in another language. These cultural differences are important to understand e.g.  in English “to stretch one’s legs “ meaning to take a walk, in Arabic means to lie down. The English “chicken-hearted”  would be “he was an ostrich” in Arabic. The English expression “to beat about the bush” means to be evasive, but the same expression in German means to sound things out.

Often no idiomatic equivalent exists in another language and so it is important for the teacher to explain the idiom or proverb, so that  the students understand its meaning. 


Some questions to start

What are your favourite sayings (idioms or proverb)? When and how do you use them? What sayings did your parents or grandparents use? Is there an equivalent in English or in the European language you are learning?

Can you choose one and explain it to your neighbour?



Plan of the lesson



Student’s activities

1)  10 ´


·        Cut  a list of idioms or proverbs in half  and lay it  on the table

·        Students should match up the correct halves to make the proverb.


2)  10 ´

·        Choose an easy proverb or idiom  and cut it up into individual words and mix them up

·        The student should put the proverb back into the correct order. (Various well-known proverbs should be discussed first in class or written on the backboard and then erased before the exercise.) Each student or pair of students should be given one proverb to rearrange in the correct order.

(*More advanced students may be able to sort out the words from 2 or 3 proverbs which have been cut up and mixed up.)


3) 15´




·        Divide the class into small groups and provide each with paper and a pencil.

·        Give each group a pictorial proverb or idiom and ask them to illustrate it or draw it.

·        The students must then show it to the other groups who must try and guess what proverb it is. (For less advanced classes the sayings should first be discussed or written on the board and explained.)

      For example :“When the cat is

      away, the mice will play” or “birds

      of a feather flock together” or she

     fell for him “hook, line and

     sinker” or “don’t count your

     chickens before they’re hatched” or

     “to  burn ones bridges”.


4) 10´

·        A list of common  animal proverbs or idioms with one of the important words removed and  mixed with two other similar words. 

·        Provide 3 or more similar  alternatives.

·        Students guess the correct word 

     A definition  of the proverb can be

     Included to help. e.g.

a)Someone refuses to speak. You ask “ Has the cat/dog/mouse got your tongue?

b)If an offer is just too good to be true, you smell a rat/sow/snake.

c)The road is wide enough for two cars, but the person in front of you won’t let you pass. He is a road horse/hog/pig


5) 10´

·        Choose a list of sayings with colours in them.

·        Ask the pupils to insert the correct colour and explain what the sentences mean. E.g.

      I told a green/black/white/ lie and

      said that “I had to go to the


      It’s been another black/yellow/red

     day for  the car industry, with more

     job losses announced.

    Good news. We’ve been given the

    red/yellow/green light to go ahead

   with the project.

·        Insert the right colours in the spaces

     a. Someone sees you doing

     something illegal. You have been

     caught .............-handed.

     b. Every problem has its  positive

     side: Every cloud has a


     c. This means “excessive

     bureaucracy” : ............tape


6) 10´

·        Provide a list of idioms with 3 possible definitions for each.

·        The student should choose the correct one.

      eg.1) Six of one, half a dozen of

      the other.

      a. There are all kinds of people in

      the world.

      b. It makes no difference which

      one you choose.

      c. It’s easy to spend lots of money.

    2) She made an exhibition of


      a. She behaved in a shocking


       b. She looked particularly


       c. She took off her clothes.

7) 15´

·        Provide a list of expressions involving body parts. *

·        The students should choose the correct part from a list provided.


 a) He used to be cheerful, but recently he’s been down in the .........

 b)I can’t stop eating chocolate; I’ve got a terribly sweet .....

 c)I almost didn’t make it. I just got in by the skin of my ........

 d)I won’t tell anyone, honestly. My ... are sealed.

 e) He’d never say anything unpleasant, but his wife’s got a sharp.......


a) Can you untie this knot for me? I’m all......

b) I’ll be the only woman at the party? I’ll stick out like a sore...

c)Good luck with the interview! I’ll be keeping my....crossed for you.




*   Body parts are often used in idioms and these are often culturally determined.. In English

     you cross your  fingers for luck, but in German you press your thumbs together for luck.

** Sayings involving food reflect the  culture of the country. They  usually  can’t be directly

     translated into another language.


g. Non -Verbal Communication and Games


Peace can only be achieved if citizens are ready to make the necessary efforts to understand and accept cultural differences . You will find in Europe differences and similarities in people´ s behaviour but also in the manner they react in certain situations or they express feelings. Even the way people are dressed can give you a piece of information about the person´ s actual situation e.g. wearing black clothes is a sign of mourning in lots of European countries.

In a foreign country it is extremely important to watch how people behave to be able to understand them and to avoid misunderstandings.

Tolerance towards cultural differences is the most significant quality to assure PEACE in Europe.



Body parts: face, eyes, mouth, chest, head , arms, hands, legs, knees

Feelings: fear, joy, grief, perplexity, exhaustion, thoughtfulness, love, hatred, horror, pride …


Exercises :


Plan of the lesson



Student’s activities

1) 20’


·        Teacher reads section of a thriller

·        2 students, standing with their backs to each other, are to simultaneously “translate” the text using body language

2) 15’

·        The topic “grief” is written on the blackboard

·        The students try to present the subject “grief” with the help of objects and gestures. They are also allowed to draw

e.g. priest, tears, handkerchief

3) 20’

·        Each student is given a card with an „emotion“ written on it

·        The student is asked to express the emotion using body language and the other students are to guess the emotion described



Vocabulary and games:

Games for one person: Patience

Games for several persons: Trivial Pursuit

Board games as strategy games: Chess

Card games: Bridge

Team sports: Soccer, handball, volleyball

Group games: music bands



Plan of the lesson



Student’s activities

1) 15’


·        A sheet of paper on which a sentence has to be built


·        Certain kinds of words are listed in one row, to form a reasonable sentence in their succession (subject, verb, ….)

·        The students write a word of their choice into the respective column, fold  the sheet and pass it  to their neighbour until all kinds of words are filled in.

2) 20’

·        Conversation

·        At the beginning of the course the students are to watch their classmates closely and to note information about: behaviour during class, details about family, character, hobbies,... After 4 weeks the students are to describe their classmates anonymously. The others should guess which person was described

3) 15’

·        Cooking recipe

·        A student starts a recipe, the others add something and the recipe is to be tried at home. With this game, a sense of responsibility is to be stimulated.



Pictures for “people “ and “emotions”:

Feelings, behaviour in certain situations, in certain places, at a certain time.


Look at these pictures:


1. How would you describe :

    a) the person                        b) the person´s behaviour          c) the situation       ?


2. How do people behave in “official” and in “private” situations? Is the etiquette the same in each

    European country?


3. How did people behave 50/100 years ago? Compare with the actual behaviour of young people

   and older people.


4. Do people living in the North of Europe and people living in the South of Europe behave in the same

    way? Why not? What influences their behaviour?




                                      At school                 On TV                Seaside


                            At the town hall  in Crete                               


                               At the restaurant                  At the theatre


Project Exhibition in Bamberg 2004     Project group in Kaunas          At the airport



   Former time (1918)



   Grand parents in 1975               Wedding 1973            Ralph Schicha, story teller

                                                                                    German actor



      Crying child                                                      EU-Project  team in Chania   




(copyright: Hélène Sajons)

  Adult Education Centre – Olching/Germany              

Student´s evalutation





To be able to evaluation the impact of communication skills on  understanding in Europe and their influence on peace





To be able to recognize differences and similarities in intercultural contacts





To be able to speak/write about the own culture





To be able to speak/write about the culture of different European countries





 To be able to talk about cultural experiences





To be able to adapt one´s  behaviour to different intercultural  situations





To be able to use idioms and proverbs in the right context





To be able to avoid misunderstanding





To be able to recognize non-verbal signs





To be able to explain the relation between natural environment and buildings





To be able to recognize the similarities and the universal meaning of tales and youth´ literature








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