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Stand Up

Posted on February 3, 2014 by kierandonaghy

stand up

This EFL lesson plan is designed around a short film directed by Annie Rodgers and Aoife Kelleher and commissioned by the Belong To Stand Up! anti-homophobic bullying campaign, and the themes of bullying and discrimination. Students practise expressions using the verb stand, discuss different types of bullying and discrimination, discuss homophobic bullying and read an article on anti-bullying campaign.



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

Learner type: Teens and adults

Time: 90 minutes

Activity: Talking about bullying and discrimination, watching a short film and reading a text

Topic: Homophobic bullying and discrimination

Language: Expression with stand, and vocabulary related to discrimination and bullying

Materials: Vocabulary worksheet, short film and text

Downloadable materials: stand up lesson instructions     stand up vocabulary worksheet     colin farrell statement

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Step 1

Write stand up on the board and ask your students if they know what it means. Get feedback and go through the meanings the students suggest.


Step 2

Give the students the Stand Up worksheet. Ask them to read the sentences with stand up and to match the sentences with the definitions. Set a time limit of five minutes.


Stand Up Vocabulary Worksheet

Step 3

Go through the exercise and discuss the different meanings of stand up.


Step 4

Tell your students to look at the sentence “It’s time for people who are against discrimination to stand up and be counted.” Divide the class into groups of three or four and ask them to discuss the following questions:

  • What different types of discrimination might the speaker be referring to?
  • In what ways can people be discriminated against?
  • In what ways can people who are against discrimination stand up and be accounted?


Step 5

Hold a plenary discussion based on discrimination and the questions in the previous step.


Step 6

Tell your students they are going to watch a short film titled Stand Up in which a type of discrimination is shown and in which we see people stand up and be counted. As they watch the film they should identify the discrimination and how people stand up and be counted.

Show the film.



Step 7

Ask your students to discuss the discrimination and how people stand up and be counted.


Step 8

Tell the learners that the film was commissioned by an organisation Belong To which has a campaign called Stand Up! which fights against homophobic discrimination.


Step 9

Ask the students what they know about the actor Colin Farrell. Tell them that he has become involved the Stand Up! anti-homophobic campaign.


Step 10

Show this photo and ask the students what they think the relationship between Colin Farrell and the other man is and how it’s related to the Stand Up! campaign.


Step 11

Tell the learners they are going to read a statement by Colin Farrell. As they read it they should answer the following questions:

  • What does Colin Farrell wish for?
  • What forms of bullying does he mention?
  • What do you think is the relationship between Colin Farrell and the other man in the photo?

Give the students the text.

Colin Farrell Statement


Step 12

Get feedback on the text and what they think of it and how it makes them feel.


I hope you enjoy the lesson.


Support Film English

Film English remains 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.

Monthly subscription

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15 thoughts on “Stand Up

  1. I think, the film “Stand up”isn’t a good idea for teaching English. The film divides teenagers into “good” and “bad”, it expresses one-sided view. In this case one should speak about tolerance and non-violence.

    • Hi Svetlana,
      Thanks for commenting. I don’t agree with you that the film divides teenagers into “good” and “bad”. What it does do is make a distinction between those who are bullies and cowards, and discriminate against other people who are different from them in some way (colour, race, religion sexual orientation etc) with insults and violence, and those people who are brave enough to stand up to these bullies. Yes, the film is one-sided as it presents the point of the view of the victims of this discrimination and bullying. Would you like it to present the point of view of the bullies? I think the film already presents the case for tolerance of people of whatever sexual orientation and non-violence.
      I wish you well,

      • I see no distinction between “good” and “bad” students. I see no one-sided view either. What I see is the role education and educators have in concealing, reproducing or working against stereotypes, discriminations, and phobias. Taking that into consideration, the only view is that of tolerance, non-violence, embracing, and supporting difference. All present in the “stand up” lesson plan. Working with values in education can at times be a minefield, but I think it’s worthwhile. Thank you Kieran.

        • Hi Chrysa,
          Thanks a lot for commenting and your support. I couldn’t agree with you more when you say that teaching through values can be a minefield, but certainly worth the trouble.
          All the best,

  2. Thanks a lot for all your resources, they are great! I’m a Spanish teacher of English and I have tried several of your proposals during my lessons. They work, therefore, they are good.
    Just one question. I know that your web is thought for British teachers. I don’t know why, but I once tried to donate some money and I couldn’t do it because I had to include ‘British’ postcodes. Let me know if there is any other way – you deserve it.

    Kind regards,

    • Hi Miriam,
      Thanks a lot for writing and for the kind words. I’m glad the lessons have worked well with your students. Thanks for the heds up on the Paypal page, I’ve checked it out and I think I’ve sorted out the problem. If you like try again, I don’t think it’ll ask for a UK postcode now.
      All the best,

  3. Another great topic Kieran. As an English teacher in Japan, and the father of a mixed ethnicity child (I’m American and my wife is Japanese), bullying is something that is always on my mind. Japanese are taught from birth that being different is wrong. There’s an expression here, “the raised nail gets pounded down” which sums up the culture quite well. Bullying is not just a student on student problem either. Teachers are also guilty of it.

    Another video that compliments yours is “The Bullying Experiment”.
    I highly recommend teachers also show it.

    • Hi Mark,
      Thanks a lot for commenting and for the kind words. I’m interested to hear that the lesson resonates with your experience in Japan. Thanks for the heads up on the other video, I’ll check it out.
      All the best,

  4. I LOVE your work. So far, there are a couple of your lessons that I’ve used in class, and I think the students really enjoyed them and found them helpful.

    A couple of comments about this one:

    1) Regarding the short film itself, there seems to be something missing from it. For whatever reason, it doesn’t quite ring true for me. I’m not totally sure how I’d change it, but I’d probably make some changes to the climax, when everyone’s standing up. It just didn’t have either the intellectual or emotional “oomph” I think it needed.

    2) As an English teacher abroad, I’d still be nervous about using this lesson. My host country is not known for homophobia (or having homophobic laws), but it’s a rather socially conservative country as well. On the other hand, I’d have no qualms about using this lesson were I in my home country, backed up by laws and human rights codes. Within that context, I’d think part of my job would be helping newcomers adjust to local social norms and standards– and encouraging them to leave behind some of their prejudices.

    I know we teachers should try to be brave and true, but the job out here is challenging enough without complaints from students and parents saying I should just stick to the present perfect! (Or the other “safe” topics covered ad nauseum in multinational coursebooks.) ~sigh

    • Hi Daniel,
      Thanks a lot for commenting and for your kind words. What you say about being happy to teach the lesson in your home country, but not your current host country is really interesting and very important. As you say as teachers we should try to be brave and true, but it’s not always easy.
      All the best,

      • Homophobia is an issue in the Asian country I teach in, and I have had to deal with students engaging in it. However there is no way I could present this lesson as is – I’d probably lose my job. The issue of bullying is what I will focus on and use an alternate video. I also don’t agree that an English teacher’s role is to be ‘brave’ in terms of presenting ideas that they believe in. Our school has had to dismiss right wing conservatives and religious missionary types because they were bravely presenting their ideas in lessons – and being ‘brave’ was the argument that they gave us for their lessons. I’d expect to be dismissed if I started presenting my own ideas which are contrary to the social norms of my host country. When dealing with social issues we need to carefully tread a fine line about what is acceptable where we are, any kind – it’s going to do no one any good if we decide to become ‘gung-ho’ about it. There will be a time when I can present the lesson in its entirety, I want to be here to do that.

        • Hi Ron,
          Thanks for comment. You can obviously use or not use the lesson as you like. If it wouldn’t work in your context, it makes sense not to use it. However, some parts of the world are more open-minded and tolerant, and the lesson could be used there. It’s a shame that in countries which are homophobic and most need a change of mentality that the lesson probably can’t be used. It’s only through individuals being brave and believing in their values that any positive change takes place in the world.
          I wish you well,

  5. hi Kieran
    i m Rasool from Pakistan.i m a new comer and want to study your lessons. to me the material seems quite interesting.
    all the best,

  6. Hi Karen

    Thank you for the lesson. There is a typo on the definitions worksheet: She told me he’d meet me in the pub but she
    stood me up. The he’d needs to change to she’d.

    My students found the difference between stand up for and stand up to quite hard to understand. Any suggestions on how I could make this clearer?

    Thank you