Body Image and Self Esteem
A great segue or transition from a unit on physical descriptions is a class activity or even entire unit on body image. This is an especially great follow up for the magazine activity in my physical description post.
You could even extend it into bullying and tolerance depending on your students' levels. I have to admit, I did some of these activities with my beginner level students and they still really enjoyed it so don't be afraid to take a chance. As long as you have great visuals, multimedia, vocabulary building and of course- scaffold- your lesson, it will be a productive and effective one.
A great way to introduce the topic is to show one of the Dove Ads. They say so much without actually saying anything and are great conversation starters.
Click here for some extra activities from the Dove web site, specifically aimed at young girls.
After talking about the video and getting student responses, we briefly discussed magazines and how they show a distorted view of beauty and the human body. If you don't want to show the video or you would like something to supplement it, you can also show them some photo shopping flubs. Here are two websites that have some funny and amusing examples. Photoshop Fails 1 , Photoship fails 2
Beauty around the World
We continued the lesson with this video from Jessica Simpson's the Price of Beauty. At first I wasn't sure about the show but when I actually watched an episode I found that it really brought up a lot of important personal, social and global issues. The video portrays how, unlike in the USA and many other countries, in some societies being overweight is a sign of beauty and affluence. I stopped the video from time to time to ask students comprehension questions and after I split them into groups and asked them to write a list of characteristsics that is beautiful or attractive n their country. After sharing our findings I asked students to write their personal idea of beauty and to find if it differed from that of the greater society.
Continuing with body image, here is a video that addresses how the media and specifically the fashion industry affect our body images. It is from ABC Australia and also includes the transcript!
Body Image Video-ABC Australia
If you want to focus on the media aspect you can use the link below for an article about photoshopping and warning labels on magazines. It includes comprehension checks and exercises. I'm not a huge fan of worksheets but this is always another option.
Breaking News English- Body Image Reading
A great follow-up would be to bring in real magazines (yay for realia) and ask students to design a poster which displays what they just learned about body image. Ask them to be creative, candid and to use the pictures form the magazines as well as any words or phrases they wish.
Christina Aguilera- Beautiful
Bruno Mars- Just the Way You Are