This activity is inspired by something I saw on a project I was on although that particular activity was being used to explore gender roles. Since then I’ve used ‘topless images’ many times with my learners. Whether or not you want to explore biases and stereotypes, it’s a really productive speaking activity that gets everyone talking.
- Explore biases, stereotypes and their impact
- Develop oral fluency in this context
- You will need to keep an eye out for images that are sure provoke a discussion on biases.
- Snip the tops of the images and place them on slides or print them out.
- Put learners into small groups.
- Bring up each image and ask learners to come up with a backstory for the person in the image.
- Take whole class feedback (Learners will generally suggest that A is a Hindu/Indian woman who is getting married, B is an Asian female model and that C is a Scottish bagpiper).
- You can either display the original images and tell learners who these people are or ask them to visit the Huffington Post articles they’re taken from and confirm their backstories.
- A is from http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/11/08/heres-theresa-may-looking-gorgeous-in-a-saree/
- B is from http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/11/04/80-year-old-model-crushes-stereotypes-with-his-runway-swagger/
- C is from http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/11/07/indias-first-female-bagpiper-is-a-self-taught-delhi-girl/
- I usually keep QR codes ready and ask each group to send a representative to scan the QR Code on his or phone, access the article, skim and discuss it with their group members. Alternatively, you could stick the articles up on the walls of your classroom.
- Ask learners to discuss how similar or different the real stories are from the back stories they came up with. Ask them to consider what this might reveal about their biases and the impact stereotypes have on their thinking. Get them to discuss what kind of impact this might have on their interactions with others, at work and in their personal life.
Here are the original pictures:
Image attribution – fair use for educational purposes:
Here’s Theresa May Looking Gorgeous In A Saree (Link), Huffington Post, 09/11/2016
80-Year-Old Model Crushes Stereotypes With His Runway Swagger (Link), Huffington Post, Suzy Strutner, 04/11/2016
- This Woman, Who Claims To Be India’s First Female Commercial Bagpiper, Has Made Some Really Cool Music (Link), Huffington Post, Anwesha Madhukalya, 07/11/2016
The headless black and white image is in the public domain.