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Paul Sparks, Online Business English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas for
Grade 1 English Conversation Lessons at Xiangtan Normal University...
LESSON 17 - STEREOTYPES
The purpose of this
lesson is so that students will understand that assumptions can lead to
stereotypes and unfair judgments about individuals and groups and that
stereotypes and biases affect our lives.
People often use
labels or categories to describe others, these labels can be based on such
characteristics as clothing, looks, the way a person talks, or the groups
to which he or she belongs. People often make assumptions about groups of
people they don’t even know.
When we make assumptions
about an entire group of people, those assumptions are referred to as
stereotypes. When assumptions and stereotypes influence our attitudes, we
may find that making a fair judgment about someone or something is
difficult. This influence on judgment is called a “bias.”
Stereotype are general
ideas of a person, created without taking the whole person into account.
When we stereotype a group of people, we depict all of the individuals
within that group as having the same characteristics even though they are
probably all very different.
reflect differences between one's own and a different culture.
Here is a more advanced
definition (from the Oxford English Dictionary): "A stereotype is a
preconceived and oversimplified idea of the characteristics which typify a
person, situation, etc.; an attitude based on such a preconception. Also,
a person who appears to conform closely to the idea of a type."
- Definition: An idea that is taken for granted but not necessarily
proven. Example: "Non-Asians often make the assumption that Asians
- Definition: Attitudes or behaviors based on stereotypes of people.
Example: "When we omit people of color in our history lessons, we
display a bias that suggests that their contributions are not
- Definition: A categorization of people according to shared culture,
language, or geographic region. Example: "The terms “Italian” and
“Irish” describe two distinct ethnic groups."
- Definition: A categorization of people based on shared biological traits
such as skin color, hair texture, and eye shape. Example: "One
function of the U.S. Census is to count the citizens by race, which is
categorized as Black, White, Latino, or Native American."
about a situation when someone made a biased judgment about you or acted
unfairly toward you because of your age, skin color, clothes you were
wearing, gender, the way you speak, where you live, how much money your
family has, or some other reason.”
What are stereotypes and
how do they affect people’s lives?
Can you think of any events in history that were influenced by stereotypes
How do people learn to make stereotypes? How might they unlearn them?
How can the media (newspapers, television, movies) help to reduce
Do you think certain groups are more subject to stereotyping than others?
If so, why?
What do you think an individual can do to help reduce bias and
Examples of common
stereotypes about Americans are Freedom, Fast Food, Cars and Highways,
Television, Computer, Culture and Sport. Americans are free people living
almost without any restriction. That's why we speak about the
"American Way of Life".
There is probably some
truth in stereotypes, but they tend to be very general. For example, it is
true that America is the home of Fast Food. With enterprises like Mc
Donald's and KFC.
countries have many stereotypes about each other:
British and Canadian
thoughts on Americans...
Americans are loud, there are 4 kinds of Americans - (the Super-cool
who live in Manhattan apartments - red-neck southerners who burn crosses
and persecute anybody who isn't blonde-haired and blue-eyed -
bible-Bashing Mid-Westerners - dizzy Californians who hire people to watch
out for new Band-Wagons to jump on), Americans have the average
intelligence of a lobotomised amoeba, That Americans are all gun-toting,
trigger-happy sociopaths, Americans are all obese from ludicrously large
and fatty meals.
American thoughts on the
British are all pretentious and and look down their noses at other
cultures, There are 2 kinds of British people - (friendly Cockney types
with dodgy accents - relatives of royalty who live in mansions and drive
Rolls Royce's or Bentley's), British use copiously large words when
something more diminutive will suffice, Violent crime in Britain never
gets worse than Maggie Thatcher hand-bagging the unemployed, The British
are all obese from food that is either boiled or deep fried
Common Stereotypes about
the Germans include:
The people like to drink beer, are always on time, unfriendly,
especially in shops and supermarkets. Germans have rules, regulations and
laws for everything.
GENDER STEREOTYPES (MEN
What does it mean
to act like a man? (e.g., men don't cry, men are tough, men are
strong, men's jobs)
What does it mean to be ladylike? (e.g., girls are polite, girls are neat,
girls are passive, women's jobs)
Where do we learn these gender roles? (People in entertainment? Sports?
Where do women learn these messages? (Parents, Society.)
A stereotype confirms the
belief that if you are a girl or a boy, or a woman or a man, you must
perform these specific roles, and do them well. This belief takes away our
personal choices in deciding our own interests and skills. It also
discourages men from participating in "women's work" (such as
flower arranging and child care) and it restricts women from choosing
roles that are traditionally "male" (such as engineering and
Have you ever experienced a
situation where you were expected to act a certain way because you were a
girl or a boy, even though it may not have been the way you felt like
Differences in our
society are many, including age, religion, physical and mental abilities,
gender, sexual orientation, income, family or social status, and physical
appearance. Anyplace where differences are found leaves room for
generalizations about people usually based on inaccurate information or
assumptions rather than facts. Stereotypes do not take into account the
great diversity of people within a group of people. Nor do stereotypes
consider the present circumstances of the individual. Even worse,
stereotypes can lead to prejudicial or discriminatory behavior.
Stereotypes are learned.
Young children learn to stereotype others by the comments or behavior of
their parents or other adults in their lives. Some stereotypes show up in
television, music, books, school textbooks, and advertising. People may
learn stereotypes by believing someone else's opinion when they haven't
had firsthand experience.
What can we do to reduce or
eliminate stereotypes in our lives?
1. Focus on every person as
2. Become more aware of stereotypes and how they interfere with our
ability to perceive and interact with people.
3. Remember that there are more differences within a group than between
4. Recognize that we're all part of many groups, none of which can totally
explain or define who we are.
5. Learn to look at things from the other person's point of view.
6. Adapt a more humble, tentative attitude about the accuracy of our
7. Be willing to learn more about the culture and background of people
different from ourselves.
8. Take opportunities to neutralize stereotypes when we hear them.