P is for Pork

Here we are with last PARSNIP which is Pork apparently. Not quite as controversial as the others perhaps but we shall see, wahahaha!

What he heck could you do with pork in the ELT classroom then?

1)The obvious, references to religion and how it has been used to insult some Muslims and defile their burial grounds even.

2)As a link into other religions and their rules/law/life suggestions. How possible is it to enforce them in the modern world? Should we? Can you consider yourself as really religious if you don follow the strict diet set down for you?

3)GM and pigs. Is the life of a pig a fair trade for you a new liver when you destroyed the first through alcohol abuse?

4)Why on earth was there a fad about 10 years for Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs? How other ridiculous pets?

5)Why do we find it so disgusting that other countries eat horse, dogs or goats when we eat pigs?

Some interesting piccies for your piggy taste buds:

And if you fancy more PARSNIPS I highly recommend you take a look at:






4 thoughts on “P is for Pork

  1. I recently did a lesson on Parsnips with a class of pre intermediate, mostly Turkish and therefore Muslim (of differing degrees) students. We had some really interesting discussions about pork and halal meat, along with opinions on women, marriage, life after death etc… It ws fascinating. As someone who doesn’t believe in any god, I love to discuss religion with religious people and i thoroughly enjoyed speaking with my students about these topics, listening to their point of view and sharing mine. Everyone in the class, including the young Italian guy who shares my views, managed to enter into sensitive, but frank conversations and we all learnt something for each other.

    PARSNIPS rule. OK?

    Thanks for all your posts, Phil. I’ve enjoyed reading them. You have a great skill of thinking up discussion topics.


    • Sounds like you managed to strike a very good tone in that class Jem. I find it very hard to choose a topic and engage students but without getting too personal. I do think it’s good to say what I think though as that honesty shows that I want real conversation but as the teacher I do more power to influence them. In the back of mind there’s the ‘teacher is always right’ thing too which the students have grown up with. Even in an ELT class they expect to be taught something and not just talk.

      I think religion is my favourite topic.I’ve had very open students who are even critical of their own beliefs, others who have been knowledgeable about lots of religions and even strict religious types who refused to accept anything else. Those were fun, especially when I projected photos of dinosaur remains on the wall.This took this well and actually explained them as a test by god. Oh for more classes like that one!!

  2. Hi Phil,

    Have thoroughly enjoyed your PARSNIP posts – great discussion questions and some fascinating visuals!

    Thanks also for giving me a mention here -I’m flattered, especially as I have only just embarked on my own journey through PARSNIP topics.

    I’m currently contemplating Alcohol (over a well deserved beer). I love your idea of using film clips of binge drinkers on the streets of the UK. I’m often embarrassed by the binge drinking culture we have here. I know my ESOL learners find it bewildering, and I think talking about the possible reasons behind it could make for a fascinating lesson.

    Thanks Phil!


    • Hi Genny,

      Thanks.It’s great what you are doing and where you are doing it.Congrats on the Onestop prizes too! I liked the elections one, I do something similar in debate classes but get them to make their own parties, only after showing them the diverse range of British parties like the monster raving loony one.

      If I had time I would make a full lesson plan/frame about one of the Parsnips just to show what it would look like in a book but maybe later.

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