The qualities of an inspiring woman – adjectives of personality

Every International Women´s Day, we try to reflect on women who somehow inspired us. Sometimes they are famous, other times historical figures — but often they are just regular women you’ve never read about in a newspaper. They are our friends, family members or colleagues. We often hold them up as the role models because of their outstanding personal qualities.

Here´s a lesson idea that encourages group work and autonomous learning in the context of qualities of an inspiring woman.

Levels: Any

Aimed at: Young learners/young adults/adults

Aims: To enhance students´ knowledge in the lexical field of adjectives of personality /To encourage group work and autonomous learning/ To encourage creativity in the classroom/To celebrate International Woman´s Day

Time: +/- 1h 20 minutes

Materials: Bilingual dictionaries/Card/Coloured pencils or board pens/CD player for the background music

1. Ask for a volunteer (be patient – someone will be up for it sooner or later – just wait) and ask him or her to sit with his back to the board. Write a name of a famous woman on the board so the whole group can see it. Explain that the objective of the game is for the volunteer to guess who the person is. Each person can shout out one adjective they would use to describe the secret person with. If it goes for too long, allow for some more detailed clues (facts from the person´s life, etc.)

+/- 5 minutes

2. Put the students in groups of 3 or 4 and ask them to reflect on the previous activity. Questions you might want to ask them:

· Did you enjoy the game?

· What was the most challenging part of the activity?

· What kind of difficulties did you experience when taking part in the activity?

· Would you like to repeat it in the future? And so on.

Have a whole class feedback. Someone will probably mention the lack of vocabulary (in this case, descriptive adjectives) as an obstacle to their active participation in the game. Ask the group what they could do to make this stage easier. Elicit: use a bilingual dictionary.

+/- 5 minutes

3. Tell the students that today they are going to work with bilingual dictionaries and create `What are the qualities of an inspiring woman?`poster.  At this point, you might choose to show them an example:


And a template, in case you need one:


4. Have the students work in groups and ask them to think about what it means to be an inspiring woman. Have a brief class feedback and ask them to give you a few adjectives they would use to describe one.  If they can´t come up with the English version of a word, encourage them to look it up in a dictionary.

+/- 5 minutes

5. Give each group a time limit of 45 minutes to finish their posters. Have them work in groups and look up the vocabulary/adjectives of personality in a bilingual dictionary. You could also ask them to use the following site:

Monitor closely to make sure the conversation is happening mainly in English – you can allow them to relate to their L1 but only when looking up the vocabulary.  Put the CD player on (you know your class – try to choose something they would like: ask!).

+/- 45 minutes

6. Have each group present their posters and create a wall display.

7. As an individual follow-up homework, you could ask the students to write an essay on the same topic: ´What are the qualities of an inspiring woman?´

Further reading for B2 + students:

Happy International Women´s Day!

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