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New Boy

Posted on April 6, 2011 by kierandonaghy

This EFL lesson is designed around a short film called New Boy and the subject of bullying. Students watch a short film, speak about bullying, and listen to and complete a poem about bullying.



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Language level: Intermediate (B1) – Upper Intermediate (B2.1)

Learner type:Teens and adults

Time: 90 minutes

Activity: Watching short film, speaking about bullying, and listening to and completing a poem

Topic: Bullying

Language: Vocabulary related to bullying and should

Materials: Short film, comprehension questions, discussion questions, anti-bullying posters and poem

Downloadable materials: new boy lesson instructions     new boy comprehension questions     anti-bullying slides     bullying discussion questions     bullying poem

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Step 1

Write new boy on the board and ask your students what comes to mind. Tell them that they are going to watch a short film called New Boy, ask them what they think will happen in the film.


Step 2

Show your students the film and ask them to answer the questions in the comprehension document.


Step 3

Go through the questions.


Step 4

Show your students the first slide of the PowerPoint presentation and ask them if they understand the expression. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me is an expression said in order to show that people cannot be hurt by unpleasant things that are said to them. Ask students if they agree with this expression or if they think that words really can hurt. Show your students slides 2-6 which come from anti-bullying campaigns and all show that words can hurt. Discuss the slides and the vocabulary in them with your students. 



Step 5

Get your students to discuss the questions about bullying in small groups.


I hope you enjoy this English language lesson.

Support Film English

Film English remains ad-free and takes many hours a month to research and write, and hundreds of dollars to sustain. If you find any joy or value in it, please consider supporting Film English with a monthly subscription, or by contributing a one-off payment.

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19 thoughts on “New Boy

  1. A wonderful way to get the difficult subject of bullying in the classroom providing lots of stimulus for discussion at all ages. Much appreciated!

  2. Hi again,

    as we are beginning a new term I asked the group what they would like to cover … and they all sighted this lesson as the best! I’m going to try today with your recently posted racism and the lovely short film Strangers. I have also found something on You Tube about racism in football so hope to kick it off with that – all are Barça fans so after last night…. ; )
    Many thanks again.

    • Hi Helen,
      Good to hear from you. I’m really glad your students liked the lesson. Let me know how the racism lesson goes, please. By the way, where do you teach?
      All the best,

      • Hi Kieran

        I teach in Barcelona, but not in an academy, I have small groups of young students in private classes, although I also teach in business to adult students.

        At the moment I am in the UK at a wonderful summer I return to each year where we have classes of 16 students per class with learners from all over the world – we are going to try using your bullying lesson again with a group who have to perform on stage at the end of the course. I’ll let you know how it goes…
        Thanks again for your wonderful lessons and ideas – I am inspired by them
        and often look for ways of using short film, adverts etc in classes these days.

  3. thanks so much for the wonderful films and the rich ideas you presented. they will be very useful to me, i’ll put them into practice!!!

  4. Dear Kieran,

    Thank you very much for sharing the lesson plan on bullying. I am teaching ESL academic writing course in Tokyo,Japan. To activate students’ schemata on bullying I used your lesson plan and it was a huge success.
    Much appreciated,


  5. What an amazing resource this is, thank you. I used New Boy with a group of Italian (pre)teens today and they really enjoyed it, despite the sweltering heat. Their level is only pre-int at best but the film is clear enough for them to manage the comprehension questions and they had loads of questions for me on the topics raised after they had watched. I wouldn’t have attempted any of the other exercises on this blog just because they don’t have enough English to deal with them, but had planned to use an exercise from an OUP book on using film in the ESL classroom – ‘Dear film friend’ – where they choose a character and write a letter to them. Had to abandon this as they just couldn’t concentrate due to the heat but it could be an idea if anyone else is interested in using this with a lower level class.
    Thanks again,

    • Hi Mary,

      Thanks a not for your kind comments. I’m really glad your students enjoyed the film. I think the lesson on racism using the short film Strangers would work well with them as there’s no dialogue, it’s all visual. In addition, a lesson plan on football and values using a short film caleed L’euip Petit might work well as well as it’s subtitled in english.

      All the best,


  6. Dear Kieran

    What a great lesson!…I used the Bullying Lesson with a group of students here in Vietnam. They are high school level who used the content to introduce the subject to lower level students. I am myself from the UK.


    • Dear John,
      Thanks a lot, I’m really happy that you liked the lesson. How did you students react to it? Could they relate to it?
      All the best,


  7. Dear Kieran,
    First I would like to say I love your work here.
    I used “The Boy” in a lesson. May I make two suggestion?
    STEP 2 – question: 2. What is the teachers like?
    I would change to: 2. What are the teachers like? (both in Africa and Europe)
    STEP 6 – question 5. Is bullying a big problem in your country?
    I would change it to: 5. Is bullying a big problem in our society?

    • Dear David, Thanks very much for commenting and for your suggestions, good ideas. I’m really glad you like the lesson. Best wishes, Kieran

  8. Hi Kieran,
    I was working on a bullying unit of work that started with Stephen Spender’s poem ‘My Parents Keep Me From Children Who Are Rough’ with 13-14 year olds in Scotland (UK), and I came across your lesson plan. The clip of the ‘New Boy’ made a nice contrast to all the other work we had been doing and spurred their interest in the topic as a whole. The pupils loved it – as did I, and all of the teachers that watched it.

    With another class of 12-13 year olds,I was working on the concept of ‘jumping to conclusions’ (we were doing the play Paper Tigers), and decided to use this clip with them, since it was previously so successful. They too loved it and it gave another dimension to how people ‘jump to conclusions’ (and because the teacher is awful to her students and so it also helps make us a little better!).

    I will definitely be using parts of this lesson with as many classes as I can, thank you for a brilliant resource and loving your work.

    • Hi Fiona,
      Thanks a lot for commenting. I really appreciate your lovely feedback. It’s great to know that you and your students enjoyed the lesson and the film. I don’t know the Stephen Spener poem, but i’m going to check it out.
      All the best,