How would you describe yourself? Here are 16 Personalities full of juicy descriptor words

  • Level: B2, C1
  • Questions embeded in the activity
  • Language focus: adjectives, descriptors, personal traits
  • Media: interactive quiz (reading)

How would you describe yourself? Tell us about you? Why hire you rather than someone else? Could you tell the class a few things about yourself? From job interviews to cocktail parties, this question can crop up in so many places. Yet whether I ask it or answer it, it always seems to create a moment dead air that can be a little awkward.

Being in the Spotlight

Even if it’s a pretty basic question, it does require that you expose yourself. And if you don’t want to expose yourself, well that kind of exposes you anyway. In other words, if you answer you have to say stuff, and if you don’t, well that says something too. That challenge basically boils down to the whole introvert, extrovert, ambivert dimension (see the lesson for more on that).

I Need More Word-Thingies

The second challenge in answering is of course vocabulary–which is what makes it a great ESL conversation lesson. This question will inevitably trigger the need for adjectives and descriptors. Once you have used up the garden variety, “I’m a hard-working person”, “I am perseverant” (because most language learners are), “I am sensitive”, even a native speaker may be at a loss for something to say. Or the opposite might happen, so many things start tumbling out of your mouth, you don’t know what to choose and when to stop.

A Little Preparation and Practice Never Hurt

I’m not saying we should prepare a one-size-fits-all speech that we learn by heart and recite anytime we are asked…that would be weird. But full disclosure, I myself have put some thought into this question and I do sometimes practice in my head…yep. I even have a first day of class version, a job interview version and a small talk version.

Hungry for Words

If you are hungry for words, one of my students recommended this great psycho-quiz called 16 Personalities. I use it in a job searching workshop to train students to answer the famed “tell me about yourself” interview question. The site is super well done, full of varied adjectives and descriptors and the questions are succinct, thought-provoking and fairly simple.

Warm-up

  • Read through the personalities with your students
  • Clear up any vocabulary issues
  • Have them predict which personality correcponds to them

Le quiz: 16 Personalities

Discussion

  • What personality are you?
  • Say 5 to 6 descriptor words you don’t usually use, but that you really identify with
  • Are there any aspects of the description that you disagree with?
  • Can you give examples/anecdotes from your life that demonstrate this personality type?

Why do we teach boys to be brave and girls to be perfect?

  • Language focus: comparisons, hypotheticals
  • Media: video

Now that is a loaded question if I ever did blog one. Admittedly gender difference always creates discussion. But not always the discussions I like to facilitate. In fact, I usually stay away from overly simplistic comparisons, especially when they pit the two most basic attributes of humanity. However, when I watched Reshma Saujani’s TED talk, I instantly wanted to talk about it.

Can it be true? And what if it is?

Saujani hammers a societal observation that had me searching all my memories as a young girl. Do we teach our boys to be brave and our girls to be perfect? And the follow-up question: how has this shaped our society? Said differently, how has this impacted our job market, our political paradigms, technological progress, social and familial priorities…the list goes on.

CTRL Z please!

Saunjani strikes a particularly sensitive chord when she describes some of the anecdotes from her coding school for girls. She describes a girl sitting in front of her blank coding screen, feeling like she is just not good enough to compose code that will work. But when you do CTRLZ (undo) to go back a few keystrokes, she finds pages full of code that was deleted that simply “wasn’t good enough”.

Warm Up

  • Mind Map some of the biases we have about girls and boys (e.g. girls and creative and boys are good at math, boys are more physical, etc.)
Handout on TPT 0.99$

The Video: Teach girls bravery, not perfection by Reshma Saujani

Can you spot the lie?

Can you spot the lie? We would play this game for hours in long car rides. The object is to tell two things about yourself that are true and one thing that is false. The other participants have to say which they think is the lie.

Rules

  • Each player thinks of three anecdotes. Two should be true and one should be false.
  • Each player takes turns saying their anecdotes.
  •  The other players have to say which anecdote is a lie.

That’s it. It’s a simple game that can be tons of fun. Let me know how it goes.

 

What is Brexit doing to the U.K.?

Whether you are for, against or take a neutral position of the Brexit negotiation, it is interesting to see how this deal is affecting British politics.

This New York Times video looks at some of the societal issues that prompted the need for Brexit. But now, it seems as though people are changing their minds. Why?

Warm up

  • What do you know about Brexit?
  • How do you think the people of the United Kingdom feel about it?
  • Where do you stand? For, against, neutral

The Video: New York Times-Brexit a disunited kingdom 

  • What are some of the actions you see?
  • What are the people feeling?
  • Can you do a Tell Back of some of the main points?
  • Do you think the people are changing their minds?
  • What do they hope to achieve in accepting/rejecting this deal?