Use this lesson with primary learners to consider their perceptions of gender roles in jobs.

A female police officer


This lesson plan is based on an activity from the British Council publication Integrating global issues in the creative English language classroom, which provides innovative ideas for teaching while raising awareness of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

In this lesson, which supports Goal 5: Gender equality, learners brainstorm jobs, then draw three people doing different jobs. Afterwards they are guided to notice the gender of the people they have drawn and think about why they might have drawn them like that. Then they sort job names in English according to whether they are gendered or not and consider why it’s good to use non-gendered terms. Finally, they think about which jobs are important, exciting or interesting and why, and make a display.

This lesson has been adapted from the lesson 'She's a policeman' in the publication Integrating global issues in the creative English language classroom (chapter 6: activity 3 - page 60)

Learning outcomes:

  • Consider the perceptions of gender roles in jobs
  • Review and learn vocabulary for different jobs
  • Notice gender in job names
  • Consider why non-gendered language for jobs is important
  • Use the present simple for describing jobs
  • Appreciate how a range of jobs can be important, interesting or exciting
  • Take part in group work and use collaboration skills

Age and level:

Primary learners (9–12 years) at CEFR level A2 and above


95 minutes. This can be done in two lessons.


This can be done as a no print lesson or using worksheets. The following documents can be downloaded below:

  • Presentation
  • Photos of 3 jobs  (one copy to display)
  • Jobs cards (one copy per group, cut up)
  • Materials for making the poster – paper, colours, scissors and glue (one set per group)
  • Online pinboard or collaborative tool
  • Homework worksheet
Task 1: Introducing the topic (5 minutes)
  • Ask the learners what they want to be when they grow up and why. Do they know anyone who does that job, for example a family member, or is there anyone famous with that job? You can display slide 2.
Task 2: Generating vocabulary (10 minutes)
  • Now ask learners to say what other jobs they know and brainstorm as many as possible. Accept all contributions at this stage, even if they are expressed in gendered language. Write their ideas on the board.
Task 3: Awareness-raising and discussion (20 minutes)
  • Tell learners that they are now going to draw three people doing different jobs. You can use slide 3. Ask them to draw: Set a time limit for each drawing.
  1. a person who catches criminals
  2. a person who fixes cars
  3. a person who helps look after you when you’re sick, for example in hospital, but who isn’t a doctor.
  • Alternatively, show a picture of objects people needs for their job (e.g. slide 3: handcuffs, some tools or a thermometer) and ask them to draw a person who uses this object in their job.
  • Ask learners to compare their pictures in small groups. Then, display or show the jobs photos. Ask them if there are any big differences and elicit if their pictures show people of a different gender.
  • If there are lots of learners with pictures showing the more traditional gender for that job ask why?. Is there someone in their family with this job? Have they seen women/men on TV doing this job? Can everyone do this job?
  • Explain to the learners that the United Nations, an international organisation that helps solve world problems, like gender equality and climate change, has 17 special goals which all the UN countries agreed to in 2015. The goals are designed to help solve these world problems everywhere, by 2030, and Goal 5 is Gender equality. One part of this goal is to make sure that everybody has equal opportunities regardless of their gender.
Task 4: Focus on gendered language (10 minutes)
  • Ask the learners to look again at their first drawing. What’s the best name for this job, policeman/policewoman or police officer? [police officer] You can use slide 7 as a prompt. Why? [It’s for everybody.] Elicit or explain that these kinds of titles help everybody believe they can do this job if they want.
  • Tell the learners you are going to give their group some job titles, and they need to decide which job titles are for everybody and leave out the ones they think are only for one gender. You can use slide 8 to assign titles to group or give out cards. Allow groups time to decide.
  • As you monitor, make a note if there are any job names which are not gendered but learners have left out, e.g. kindergarten teacher and ask them why. If they left them out because they felt they were jobs suitable only for one gender, you might like to discuss this as a class at the end of the activity, e.g. you could do an image search to find pictures of both women and men doing the job.
  • This could be the end of lesson 1
Task 5: Project – preparation (15 minutes)
  • Write the following adjectives on the board: important, exciting, interesting. Or use slide 9. What jobs do learners think are important etc.? Ask them for a few ideas and ask them why for each one. For example, Rubbish collectors have an important job because they help keep our houses and streets clean.
  • Next, tell them to work in their groups and sort the non-gendered jobs cards according to which adjective they think each job is. As you monitor, ask the learners to explain some of their choices
Task 6: Project – make a poster (25 minutes)
  • Now tell the learners that they are going to make a poster in their groups about one type of job, i.e. about important jobs, exciting jobs or interesting jobs. Assign (or let them choose) an adjective to each group. If you have more than three groups, assign the adjectives twice or as needed.
  • Explain the steps to make the poster:
  1. Each learner in the group chooses a different job from the cards they put under that adjective (or two jobs, depending on your learners).
  2. They take their chosen card and write about that job and why they think it’s important/exciting/interesting.
  3. They draw a picture of someone doing that job.
  4. They cut out their writing and picture.
  5. They write a title on the big piece of paper you give them for the poster, such as ‘Jobs we think are important’ or similar.
  6. They arrange their cards, writing and pictures on the poster and glue them on.
  • Assign group roles to add differentiation. E.g. Facilitator, Writer, Illustrator, Editor, Designer, Presenter (see additional information)
  • As learners work on their posters, monitor, and help as needed. Depending on your learners, you might like to provide a model or frame for the writing on the board, or ask them to write in their notebooks first for you to check before copying on to the paper that they will cut out. Fast finishers can help someone else in the group, take another job to write about or make extra illustrations for the poster, e.g. by drawing pictures of the jobs for their adjective that they didn’t use.
  • When the posters are finished, put them up around the room. If possible, allow learners to look at the other posters and say which job from each poster they would most like to do. Alternatively, learners could present their posters to the class.
Task 7: Setting homework (5 minutes)
  • Ask learners to imagine they can do any job. Remind them that everyone can do any job. What would they like to do and why? Ask them to write about it and draw a picture. You can use slide 9 to explain the homework. Use the homework template for learners who need support.
Further ideas and resources

Original activity by Jemma Prior and Tessa Woodward

Adapted for TeachingEnglish by Rachael Ro

Edited by Suzanne Mordue

Language Level


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