They/them as singular pronouns

A simple introduction via PowerPoint to show several ways in which we use "they" and "them".

Aim: to show how we use "they" and "them" not just as plural, but also as singular pronouns.

Some ways we can use "they" and "them":
- More than one of a noun
- To refer to someone whom we don't the gender of
- For non-binary people

1) The PowerPoint is a series of pictures of people - sometimes one person, sometimes several. Click through and let the students think if they should use she/her, he/him, or they/them. When you click, you'll reveal the answer.
2) The first few are easy, but some tricky ones are thrown in - a person with a bag over their head, an astronaut in full gear, and a baby. I don't give the answer right away for these ones.
3) After the picture quiz, starting on slide 14, the PowerPoint then explains how we can use "they/them" when we don't know the person's gender.
4) Once that sinks in, I introduce the singer Sam Smith on slide 18, who is non-binary, and explain their pronouns, and then we watch a Sam Smith music video.
5) Students can introduce themselves with the final slide, like this: "Hello. I'm [ ]. My pronouns are [ ].


2020 singular they them.pptx

Total 1

Estimated time: 20 minutes

Submitted by: rebvandev

November 17, 2020

UonumaRobert November 24, 2020

Actually I like the way you've got it. It may be easier but I think kids should know terms like 'wife' or 'husband' or 'partner' so they can talk about the world around them and not just themselves. I find I have to point to my ring ever time I say 'wife' so the students understand it.

rebvandev November 24, 2020

Ah that's a good point. It's probably easiest for them to think about it from their own perspective. I have some tinkering to do. Thanks for the tips!

UonumaRobert November 21, 2020

That's cool. I think New Crown has the family vocabulary completely from the point of view of the kids. So its just brother/sister/sibling then mother/father and grandparents

rebvandev November 20, 2020

I found out there are quite a few LGBT students at my school after I had them fill out a survey, and one of the questions on it was about this. After knowing that, I proposed this lesson idea to my JTEs and then got the OK from them. As for the family activity, I put "spouse" because wife/husband are also legal terms, but I think you're right. I think next year I'll delete husband/wife/spouse altogether and replace it with something simpler, like brother/sister/sibling.

UonumaRobert November 18, 2020

Interesting. I can't say I've been asked to teach this language point in this way but there are a lot of posters for LGBTQ issues and new gender norms up in this schools so its worth using more open ideas. I had actually wondered in your family powerpoint why you used spouse and not partner as a term. I think spouse is mainly a legal term whereas partner can be used in a wider range of domestic situations. Plus its easier to remember.

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