The Best Guide Notes to Teaching 'Describing Character' for Form One Students - Part 1

The Best Guide Notes to Teaching 'Describing Character' for Form One Students - Part 1

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.

Sub Topic: Describing character
Periods per sub topic: 8
Class: Form One

We always ask this question: "How do I 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 One: Describing one's character.
(To Check Part 2, Click Describing Character Part 2  )

The student should be able to describe his/her character. The student should know how to describe how to describe his/her characters by using appropriate language.

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 one's character. By introducing students to this topic, teacher will help students to introduce themselves and to 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 one's character as he/she expresses himself or herself.
For example:
I'm a good person. I'm also kind. I like to treat others fairly. I make wise decisions. So, I'm wise. Apart from being wise, I'm generous as well. I like to share my things like food with others. I'm 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:
  • I'm a kind-hearted person.
  • I'm generous.
  • I'm wise.
  • I'm the kind person.
  • I'm a wise young man.

These sentences are to be practiced using first personal pronouns so as to express oneself.

  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.

  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 vocabulary 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.
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 sub topic/lesson is brainstormed between teacher and students through oral questions with answers, pair works, and group discussions of all important concepts to get students on track.
In this activity, the teacher guides students to brainstorm about the meaning of the term Character. 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 is 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 gives out his/her model by expressing his/her own character.
Teacher's Model sentences
  • My name is Charles Michael
  • I'm English language teacher
  • I'm a hard working teacher
  • I'm wise
  • I'm cooperative
  • I'm not arrogant
  • I'm always a good person

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
My name is Busara. I'm a Form I student. I'm a good student. My fellow school mates like me very much. I'm generous. I like to share things and food with others. I apologise every time I think have offended someone. I respect my parents and other people who are older than me.
Text 2
My name is Batuli. I am 14 years old. I'm Form I student. I dislike being offended. I can fight anyone who angers me. I don't like to share my things. Some students say I am mean, but I don't want to share things with lazy people. For me, I'm grown up, and I decide what I should do. I don't respect everyone. I only respect my parents.

After showing his/her model, teacher provides students with the texts on expressing one's character. Then, students have to go through texts with descriptions of people's character, and listen to the teacher's Guidance's after reading. The teacher can also guide students to answer comprehension questions he/she may have formulated about the texts and ask students to compare these texts if there are more than one.

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 asks students to form groups, and under teacher's guidance, each student should talk about his/her character in a group. Each student should express himself or herself in front of others, and others may listen. At the end of each student's talk, others can ask him/her questions or criticise him/her on the correct usage and presentation.

As they interact in the groups, the teacher should remind students of correct use of adjectives and appropriate sentences and has to go around the class encouraging them to speak.

Activity Four: Conduct Sentence Ending Game. 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.

In this activity, 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 he/she 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 his/her behaviour and the second student has to complete the sentence. For example;
Juma: I have ....... behaviour.
John: You've bad behavior or just the word 'bad'.
Juma: I am ........ than you.
John: You're wiser than me or just 'wiser'.
Juma: I'm......... person.
John: You are generous person or just 'generous'.
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 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).

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.

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 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 his/her character.

Assessment #01: Group work.
The teacher can ask students to form groups and write the texts with a considerable number of words on the people’s characters.

Assessment #02: Pair work.
Ask students to form pairs and write the texts on their characters and other people’s characters. They should also dramatize their texts before the class.

Assessment #03: Individual work.
Here the teacher can give students various individual tasks after interacting with others in group and pair works. Some of the tasks can be:
·         To complete incomplete sentences.
·         To match the items.
·         Choosing correct words in the box or brackets.

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.

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.


Title: “Form One English Language Notes with Grammar, Exercises and Key Answers”
Edition: 1st (2022)
Format: PDF
Size: 2.16 MB
Pages: 242
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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?
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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!

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Emmanuel Kachele

Emmanuel Kachele is a founder and Blogger of KACHELE ONLINE Blog, an educational blog where 'O' Level English - 'OLE', 'A' Level English (ALE) and other related teaching and life skills are shared extensively. This is an online center for all Tanzanian Secondary School English Language students and teachers (Forms I-VI) and all interested English Language learners and teachers worldwide.

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