Nationalities and Their Stereotypes PDF Print E-mail
May 25, 2011 at 01:01 PM

Nationalities and Their Stereotypes

Activity A

Get the pupils to, individually and spontaneously, write down on a piece of paper the typical characteristics of a set of nationalities. The exercise is, of course, a matter of personal opinion. For example,

  • The French are proud ...
  • The Irish are talkative ...
  • The Italians are loud ...
  • The Spanish are passionate ...
  • The Dutch ...
  • The Germans ...
  • The Swiss ...
  • The Swedish ...
  • The Americans ...
  • The Japanese ...
  • The Indians are ...
  • The Swiss ...

Activity B

Now get them to reveal their choices and see how many people got similar descriptions. You can debate the correctness or truth of the choices,

Activity C

This is simple but goes down very well. Show them a list of the stereotypical characteristics (now a bit out of date) of the "typical Englishman". Then, get the students to write in their corresponding stereotypes (or perceived ones) alongside the English ones and under the heading "You". (For example, in the Basque country the typical person would wear bright clothing, and does not have a garden; they have plants instead). Later, you can compare the "facts".

This topic can be quite interesting if you have many different nationalities in class. Get the L2s to explain their choices.

                         English                   Basque            You   

                         -------                   ------            ---

Works:                    In a bank                Factory


Lives:                    In a house               In a flat


Hobby:                    Gardening                Watch TV,


Carries:                  An umbrella              -


Drinks:                   Tea                      Coffee


Eats:                     Plain,                   Elaborate

                          simple food                       

Newspaper:                The Times                -

                         (The Star?)                    

Favorite part of paper:  Crossword               Sport section


Wears:                    Dark suit/clothes       Colorful

                          and a bowler hat


Talks about:              The weather             Family, friends, weather ...


Loves:                    The Royal Family        -


Has:                      A garden                Plants

                          A pipe                  A cigar


Pets:                     A tiny dog              Canary


Sport:                    Cricket                 Football


Behavior:                Reserved                Gregarious


Emotions:                 Cold                    Can be serious.



(Once again, the above are surely only applicable to the middle class in England, but it does not matter if the headings are not completely factual; the idea is to get the L2s thinking about approximate correspondences-and talking).