I never had a class that didn’t ask if I wear a kilt when I am in my country. I wonder if Mexican teachers working away from home get asked the same thing about sombreros. This is a silly game that I remember from my childhood. I really hope my Mexican friends forgive me for taking advantage of their national dress stereotype in the name of grammar teaching.
- Language level: Beginner (A1)
- Learner type: Young learners; Teens; Adults
- Time: 20 minutes
- Activity: Grammar drill
- Topic: Stereotypes
- Language: Noun phrases (with the –ing form of the verb)
- Materials: None
Lesson plan outline
- Language introduction: One by one, draw the following 8 pictures on the board and in each case, ask: What’s this?
- Receptive stage: Clean the board. Tell students that you are going to find out if they can remember the pictures. Call out the 8 phrases in random order and ask students to draw the pictures on a single piece of paper or page in their note books.
- Productive stage (written): Now ask students to write the 8 phrases on a separate page or piece of paper (They may want to help each other for this). During this phase, you can circulate and make sure that students have written the language correctly.
- Productive stage (spoken): Pair up students and ask them to test each other’s memory of the language. Students take it in turn to point to pictures and ask partners: What’s this? Partners should recall the phrases accurately.
a. A Mexican frying an egg
b. A Mexican riding a bike
c. A Mexican playing the trumpet
d. A giraffe walking past a window (it’s the Mexican’s day off)
e. A Mexican visiting Egypt
f. A Mexican having a bath
g. Two Mexicans kissing
h. A koala climbing a tree (it’s the giraffe’s day off)
Note that despite the importance of noun phrases in language, traditional learner grammars sometimes
forget about them (sentences, on the other hand, are never forgotten). Don’t be shy about showing your students the difference.
- A Mexican frying an egg (noun phrase)
- A Mexican is frying an egg (sentence)
- Ask students if they can invent their own similar pictures. Perhaps they already know some. Be careful, I have seen some rude ones.
- Use this activity to introduce the topic of national stereotypes, especially those which involve clothes. In pairs or small groups, ask students to discuss and reach a conclusion on whether or not a seemingly harmless activity like this could, in fact, contribute to harmful generalisations about nationalities.