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Etiquette in Canada

Objectives: to familiarise students with the main concepts of social encounters in Canada and
compare to the Estonian’s case
Language outcomes:
● students learn and can discuss the topic about etiquette in Canada and compare it with
● students develop their social skills through the group-work activities
● students practice their language structure skills in word formation activity
Language: Oral communication and vocabulary practice
Type of activity:
● group-work (4 groups) activities: reading for comprehension, designing mind-maps, oral
● individual activities: comprehension questions, word structure activity

Target group: Form 10 (upper-secondary school pupils)

National Curriculum: inimine ja ühiskond (people ans society)
Reasons for choosing the topic: the input topic is chosen in order to develop students’
intercultural competencies on the example of Canada. The text is based on general knowledge of
social encounters which we found very useful and motivating for students. Another attractive
aspect is the possibility to personalize the acquainted material and compare cultures.The activities
reflect the needs of students according different learning styles so that every participant may find
their own role either in the group activities or individual ones, the information is presented as in
form of oral presentation as in reading activities.

Lead-in activity 1:
This activity is meant to involve students in discussion about the topic.
Look at the words on the blackboard and guess what we are going to talk about today?
On the blackboard: handshake, eye contact, business card, manner, formal situation, informal
situation, relationship, honoured guest, toast

Activity 2:
Group-work activity.Students read the parts of the texts in order to get information which they will
present to the other groups.The language of the text is familiar to students so the main purpose is
to attain and share information.
Introduction of the topic and distribution of the worksheets:
● Make a mind-map for each extract.
● Choose a speaker or two to present the extract to the classmates
● Present the extract
Group 1
Meeting and Greeting
● The most common greeting is the handshake.
● It should be firm and accompanied by direct eye contact and a sincere smile.
● Wait until invited before using someone's first name although Canadians tend to move to
a first-name basis rapidly.
● French Canadian friends may greet each other by lightly kissing on the cheeks (once on
the left cheek and once on the right).
● If using French in Quebec always use the formal pronoun "vous" (you) when speaking to
someone and do not switch to the informal "tu" unless invited to do so.

Group 2
Gift Giving
● In general, Canadians give gifts for birthdays and Christmas.
● If invited to someone's home for dinner, take a box of good chocolates, flowers or a bottle
of wine.
● In Quebec, sending flowers in advance of the dinner party is proper protocol.
● In Quebec, if you give wine, make sure it is of the highest quality you can afford.
● Do not give white lilies as they are used at funerals.
● Do not give cash or money as a present.
● Gifts are usually opened when received.

Group 3
Dining Etiquette
● Table manners are relatively relaxed and informal in Canada.
● Quebec does see a little more formality.
● Table manners are generally Continental, i.e. the fork is held in the left hand and the knife
in the right while eating.
● Wait to be shown to your seat.
● Do not begin eating until the hostess starts.
● Do not rest your elbows on the table.
● Feel free to refuse individual foods or drink without offering an explanation.
● Leaving a small amount at the end of the meal is generally acceptable.
● In formal situations, the host gives the first toast. An honoured guest should return the toast
later in the meal. Women may give toasts.

Group 4
Business etiquette
● Canadian businesspeople often begin relationships in a reserved manner; once people get
to know one another is becomes friendly and informal.
● Canadians appreciate politeness and expect others to adhere to the proper protocol for any
given situation.
● Shake hands with everyone at the meeting upon arrival and departure.
● Maintain eye contact while shaking hands.
● Men may offer their hand to a woman without waiting for her to extend hers first.
● Honorific titles and surnames are usually not used.
● However, academic titles are important in Quebec and are used with the honorific
Monsieur or Madame.
● Business cards are exchanged after the initial introduction.
● In Quebec, have one side of your business card translated into French. Hand the card so
the French side faces the recipient.
● Examine any card you receive before putting it in your card case.

Activity 3
Answer the questions (students are being distributed questions about the extracts they
This activity may be done as a group activity as well as an individual one. The main purpose is to
check students’ comprehension of the different part of the text based on listening to the other
groups and note-taking.

Greeting and meeting

1. What is the most usual way to greet someone in Canada?
2. How do French Canadian friends usually greet each other?
3. How do people in Quebec address to each other while speaking French?

Gift giving
1. When do Canadians give gifts?
2. What are you advised to take if you are invited to someone’s home?
3. What flower you cannot give in Canada? Why?

Dining Etiquette
1. How different are table manners in Quebec from the rest of Canada?
2. Can you choose the seat at the table yourself?
3. If you don’t like the offered food, can you refuse?

Business etiquette
1. What is important about a handshake?
2.What your business card should be like in Quebec?
3. What should you do with the received business card?

Activity 4
In this activity students have to find definitions to the words and expressions taken from the text.
The purpose is to enlarge the students vocabulary
Match the definition with the words:

1. Eye contact a. a ceremony of burying a person who died

2. Funeral b. European

3. Continental c. the way of doing things considered right or

best by most people

4. Honoured guest d. a form of address

5. Proper protocol e. someone who enjoys special status at a social


6. Hostess f. a woman who looks after people at a social


7. honorific title g.when two people look into each others’ eyes

Activity 5
Word formation.
Fill in the missing word forms where possible

In this activity students practice word formation.The assessment takes place after all the students
have succeeded.

Noun Verb Adjective












Activity 6
Decide whether Estonian etiquette is similar or not to the Canadian one. Give reasons.
The final task is a reflection. Students mention the main issues they have learned from the lesson
and make comparisons to Estonia’s rules of etiquette.