The Best Guide Notes to Teaching 'Describing Character' for Form One Students - Part 2

Welcome to UNIT 15.0


PREVIOUSLY: In Unit 14.0, we covered the following sub topics: "Describing physical appearance"  in Form One; "Talking about games" in Form Two; "Writing letters to the editor" in Form Three; and "Writing descriptive compositions/essays" in Form Four.

IN THIS UNIT 15.0, the following sub topics will be discussed: "Describing character" in Form One; "Talking about marriages" in Form Two; "Writing business transaction letters" in Form Three; and "Writing argumentative compositions/essays" in Form Four.

In this Unit 15.1, we will discuss how to teach the sub topic “Describing character” in Form One.

TOPIC’S INFORMATION
Main Topic: TALKING ABOUT ONE'S FAMILY
Sub Topic: Describing character
Periods per sub topic: 8
Class: Form One.

DESCRIPTION OF THE SUB TOPIC
We always ask this question: "How does she behave?" Or How does Juma behave?". Is he arrogant? Is he polite? Or Is he charming? Is he kind? Is he a bad person? All these questions and others are asked in order to understand the character of someone.
Each part in this sub topic has its own 8 periods, hence making the total of 16 periods for the whole sub topic.

Part Two: Describing people's character.
(To Check Part 1, Click Describing Character Part 1  )

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE OF THE LESSON
The student should be able to describe people's character. The student should know how to describe other people's characters.

  1. TEACHER’S PREPARATION STAGE
This stage is about the preparation of the teacher before undertaking the lessons of the particular sub topic. These are all activities, procedures, materials, teaching aids, and games prepared by the teacher for teaching a sub topic:

  1. Putting heads together: Introducing the topic/lesson properly. Organising how students will be able to get to know what is the topic/lesson about. It is where teacher makes sure that students are going to be in his/her train. It includes brainstorming and familiarisation of the topic/lesson with the students.
This makes students stay together with the teacher. It is at this stage students can understand what is going to be discussed in the particular topic.
In this sub topic/lesson, in this stage, the teacher will guide students to brainstorm on describing people's characters. By introducing students to this topic, teacher will help students to introduce others.

  1. Preparation of Materials. A teacher has to decide on the teaching/learning materials he/she is going to use.
In this sub topic/lesson, the teacher will use as appropriate texts as possible. The content of these texts should include the vivid descriptions of people's characters.
For example:
Mzee Juma is a good person. He is kind. He likes to treat others fairly and kindly. That old man is wise too. He is also a generous old man. He respects other people's decisions. He is a kind-hearted person.

  1. Target Practice. Show or Guide students to the practice of the functions of the sub topic. A teacher has to show or guide students to the target practice of the grammatical functions of the sub topic.
In this sub topic/lesson, the teacher will guide students to the discussion of adjectives and some nouns that show someone's character. The teacher can use the common adjectives like: polite, obedient, arrogant, generous, mean, disrespectful, kind, wise, troublesome, quarrelsome, angry, etc. Some sentence examples are:
  • She's a kind-hearted person.
  • Asha is generous.
  • My uncle us wise.
  • He is the kind-hearted person.
  • My grandfather is the wise old man
  • She is a kind-hearted girl
  • She/he is a rude girl/boy.

Note. Use of third personal pronouns and names of people.

  1. Context-Based Practice. A teacher leads students to the discussion on how the target grammatical functions practised earlier can be applied or integrated into the contexts and situations. The students are guided by the teacher to apply the learnt skills in relevant contexts and situations like school and library.
In this sub topic/lesson, the teacher guides students to express themselves at school, home, and other social settings. He/she should advise students to have good characters or manners at any place and time. The teacher should also encourage students to appropriately express other people's characters.

  1. Vocabulary Building Practice. At this time, teacher discusses with the students on the vocabularies and phrases to apply in the already mentioned contexts and situations.
In this sub topic/lesson, various vocabularies can be applied, but most of them are adjectives that show someone's character or behaviour. These adjectives are like: cruel, rude, greedy, rough, good hearted, careless, generous, gentle, sincere, etc.

  1. TEACHING AND LEARNING PROCEDURES, ACTIVITIES AND GAMES
Guide the students to the full sub topic/lesson procedures, activities and games for better understanding of the sub topic by following these activities:

Activity One: Brainstorming. The teacher and students brainstorm about the sub topic/lesson through oral questions with answers, pair works, and group discussions of all important concepts to get students on track.
Character can be defined as characteristics or qualities that define the person. For example, characteristics like kindness, generosity, cruelty, and other features can be used to tell the kind or quality of a person. If a person is kind, people will say he/she has good or kind character.
Also the term Character means an imaginary person represented in a fiction literary work. There are characters in every story we read. These are called characters because they represent various characteristics of people we live with our societies. For example, there can be a thief in the story. We call that character as the person who has bad character.
Thus, a character is either the quality of a person, an imaginary person in a literary work, or is an actor's portrayal of someone in a literary work like story, or play. Even in our daily lives, people show various characters, bad or good.

Activity Two: Teacher’s Demonstration. Here there will be teacher's application of his/models or examples so as to bring the topic/lesson and the students into the real or common sense of the topic/lesson.
In this activity, the teacher will guide students on how to describe people's characters. Here the teacher will use third personal pronouns and appropriate terms to describe other people's characters.
After describing himself/herself, the teacher will provide students with some texts that describe people's characters. These texts should match the level of understanding of the students.
Afterwards, students have to go through texts with descriptions of people's character. Teacher guides students to read and identify any clues that show description of someone's character.

Sample Texts
Here the teacher can demonstrate more materials to students by giving them more sample texts on people expressing their characters, that is, their behaviours and their other personalities.

Text 1
Busara is a Form I student. He is a good student. His fellow school mates like him very much. He is generous. He likes to share things and food with others. He apologises every time he thinks he has offended someone. He respects his parents and other people who are older than him.
Text 2
Tatu is 14 years old girl. She's a Form I student. She dislikes being offended. She can fight anyone who angers her. She does not like to share her things. Some students say she is mean, and she does not want to share things with lazy people. She thinks she's grown up, and she decides what she should do. She does not respect everyone. She only respects her parents.

Activity Three: Students’ Demonstration. Showing students how models like that of a teacher can be applied by them. Here students need to be guided on how to use given expressions, structures, vocabulary, and phrases or similar ones.
In this activity, the teacher should guide students to further practices on how to state the characters of people by giving oral and written descriptions of members of their family and friends.
The teacher will conduct a game to help students master their skill interactively. In this game, one student says incomplete sentence or sentences about how someone behaves or about how certain group of people behave. The teacher has to guide students and ask them to be in pairs or group. It's good to be in pairs.
In each pair, the first student says incomplete sentence about someone's behaviour and the second student has to complete the sentence. For example; in the pair of Juma and John below:
Juma: Most old men have ....... behaviour.
John: Wise.
Juma: She's ........ than you.
John: wiser'.
Juma: Asha obeys older people. She's......... person.
John: Obedient or polite

After some sentences, John can start mentioning the incomplete sentences and Juma completes them. In this game, a student will not only understand how to describe how he/she looks like but also how to describe how others look like.

Activity Four: Taking/leading students to the real situations or contexts where they can apply what they have mastered. Here speaking, reading or writing activities are involved.

Activity Five: Winding up the topic/lesson. Here teachers summarise the topic/lesson by emphasizing the importance of the sub topic/lesson and suggesting other related aspects of the sub topic/lesson.

Additional Activity: As a teacher, what other activity can be applied in this sub topic/lesson? You can always drop your alternative activity or activities to this article so as to improve teaching and learning of O Level English (OLE).

GRAMMAR PRACTICE:
In order to incorporate this sub topic/lesson to the good structural and grammatical patters, the teacher is advised to use various pictures, picture prompts and cartoons to describe various characters of people.
The teacher should also guide students or ask students to make a list of adjectives that express people's characters.

REFLECTION
The teacher guide students to the discussion of what happens when they try to show others how they behave. Students should think of such situations and respond. These are the common responses when someone wants to justify himself or herself in front of others. Ask them how they respond when someone accuses them with these accusations:
  • You are a bad person
  • You've bad behaviour
  • You're mean
  • You're arrogant
  • You're selfish

Obviously, everyone responds positively to such accusations, and by responding to them someone is trying to express or justify his/her character to the people.
The teacher can guide students to express or respond to the accusations that are directed to others, for example:
  • She is not polite.
  • Is she arrogant?
  • Are they generous?
  • Is Juma a cruel person?
  • Is your father the kind-hearted person?

ASSESSMENT
The teacher should use relevant assessment tools like oral questions, drills, games, exercises, pair works, group works, and assignments so that to check if a student is able to describe people's character.

Assessment #01: Group work.
Ask students to form groups and ask them to write any description of any famous person they know. These descriptions should be based on the characters and appearance of the particular person. Later, they should present their description in front of class.

Assessment #02: Pair work.
Ask students to be in pairs. Then ask each member of the pair to describe the characters he/she thinks his/her compatriot has. After oral speaking, each one should write and present what he/she has written to the class.

Assessment #03: Individual work.
Here the teacher has to give students various individual exercises so as to assess their understanding of the sub topic/lesson. These tasks may be based on the following areas:
Question 1: To choose the correct words in the brackets.
Musa always fights with other students. He is ________( quarrelsome/criminal)
My uncle beats me with big sticks. He is _________ (kind/cruel)
The students disobeyed their teacher. They are ________ (disobedient/polite)
Question 2: Match the following items.
LIST A
LIST B
(i)                 She respects adult
(ii)               She gives things to the need
(iii)             John is not afraid of any danger
  1. She is generous
  2. He is courageous
  3. She is polite

Assessment #04: Sentence expansion game
In this game the teacher gives students a short description of someone. For example, “She is generous”. Then students take turns to make sentence longer and longer (or add other related sentences) until someone makes a mistake or gives up.

Note: You can give students more individual works, pair works, and group works to facilitate their interaction and understanding of the sub topic or lesson. As English language teacher you have to give students more works to do. Because language is meant to be largely spoken and written, the teacher should rely on written exercises and notes. Instead students have to learn English language by vigorously exercising individually, in pairs, and in groups.

SUMMARY/CONCLUSION
The teacher concludes the sub topic/lesson by emphasising main points. The teacher should not only teach students how to express their characters by themselves, but also to encourage them to have good characters in their life. The teacher should ask and encourage students to have good morals and manners which lead to good characters.

NOTE: These stages explained above are not necessarily covered in a single lesson of single or double period. Remember that this is the guide for teaching the whole sub topic which has periods ranging from 6 to 20. So, the teacher's task is to divide these stages according to the total number of periods for a particular sub topic.

WHAT IS YOUR OPINION?
This article is about how to study and teach "Describing character" in Form One. As a student or teacher, what is your opinion on how to study and teach this sub topic/lesson?
Your opinion is worth and I believe that it can make these materials better for our own consumption.
You are Welcome!

Check out how to Study & Teach other Form One Sub Topics in this Blog!
And many more from ‘O’ Level English Blog!

Also check out how to Study & Teach the following Form Two Sub Topics in this Blog!
And many more from ‘O’ Level English Blog!


Also check out:
Form I Sub topics, at FORM I SYLLABUS TOPICS REVIEW
Form II Sub topics, at FORM II SYLLABUS TOPICS REVIEW
Form III Sub topics, at FORM III SYLLABUS TOPICS REVIEW  
Form IV Sub topics, at FORM IV SYLLABUS TOPICS REVIEW  

For more on Literature Topics, check out Literature in English Blog
For how to be professional keeper of your Diary in Kiswahili or English, check out My Diary


For Form IV NECTA Examination Sections, check out ELABORATED CSEE NECTA EXAMINATION SECTIONS

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