This EFL lesson plan is designed around a short film by John X. Carey which was commissioned by Dove and the theme of beauty. Students describe portraits, talk about beauty, watch a short film and write a detailed self-portrait.
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Language level: Upper Intermediate (B2) – Advanced C1
Learner type: Teens and adults
Time: 90 minutes
Activity: Describing portraits, talking about beauty, watching a short film and writing a detailed self-portrait
Language: Vocabulary related to physical descriptions and beauty
Materials: Portraits, article and short film
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Put your students into pairs and ask them to discuss the following question:
What makes a person beautiful?
Give them 5 minutes to discuss the question and then get feedback from the whole class.
Keep students in the same pairs and give half of the pairs portraits A and the other pairs portraits B. They should look at their portraits and talk about which one is more beautiful and what makes it more beautiful. They should also compare hair, eyes, skin and expression.
Now students who have looked at portraits A should work with a student who has looked at portraits B. They should describe their portraits to their new partner who should try to visualise the 2 portraits. When student A has finished they should show their portraits to student B who has to say if the portraits are similar to their visualisations. Next B describes their portraits to B who has to visualise the portraits.
Get feedback about the portraits from the whole class. Tell students that the portraits were drawn by the same artist. Ask them how it is that the 2 portraits are so different.
Tell students they are going to watch a short film in which the story of how the portraits came to drawn is told.
After watching the film, ask students the following questions:
How does the film make you feel?
How do the women in the film feel when they see their portraits?
What’s the message of the film?
Pause at the end of the film when you see the caption:
“You are more beautiful than you think.”
Tell students that this is the publicity slogan of Dove the product which commissioned the short film. Ask students if they agree with this slogan and why they think it was chosen.
Tell your students that the short film went viral and has been viewed by millions of people online. However, there has also been a lot of criticism of the short film. Give students the hand out with the 5 main criticisms. Give them 5 minutes to discuss the article and then ask them to discuss each point in small groups.
Ask the learners to imagine a situation in which men were the protagonists of the film. Do they think the drawings would be very different.
Tell them that the film has also been with men as the protagonists. Show the film and ask them in what ways the two films and the drawing are different.
The film is clearly a parody and students normally find it very funny.
Ask students to imagine that they have to describe their face in great detail to a forensic artist. They should write down the description and give you to you in the next class.
I hope you enjoy this English language lesson.