Sex, Gender and How to Use Pronouns

This is a short lesson on how to understand gender and pronouns in English

This is a straightforward lesson on gender and how to explain it to students so they don't get confused with how the nuances are changing in some smaller communities in some western countries.There are directions under each slide. I would recommend speaking with your JTE and discussing the goals of learning pronouns; as the ALT you can clarify the situation so students who travel abroad do not get confused.

Medium files (requires an account to download) -
  • A lesson on gender.pptx (4.61 MB)
  • 11
    Submitted by gordy1 April 28, 2023 Estimated time: ~30 minutes for the powerpoint the rest of the class would work well with a pronouns worksheet
    1. aimeeyuri4 May 2, 2023

      I would change the term gender to sex, since that is what slide 2 is about. (Please search the phrase 'androgyny biology'. It's so cool to learn how even our biology is nonbinary!) I would also add that gender as a social construct is ~not~ binary and, even if some people may not agree, it should be explained nonetheless. The three most common gender pronouns are he/him, she/her, and they/them, but did you know people have created even more?

    2. mistaB May 2, 2023

      I had an awkward conversation with 2 high schoolers I teach eiken to. The eiken question was 'is it normal for men to wear womens clothing?' We started talking about Matsuko Deluxe and it because unbearably cringeworthy because I could tell they were scared of saying something politically incorrect. Does anyone know if Matsuko Deluxe is geniune? Because I just assumed that she was reaping the benefit of playing a 'role'.. sorry for the sidestory

    3. Hungrypanda May 2, 2023

      Hi Friend,
      Thank you for this slide. It has been very helpful in my teaching. I just wanted to comment since I see so much hateful comments here :(. Please know there are people who support you! You are free to say what you want.

    4. Jake the Admin May 4, 2023

      I've had to withhold a lot of comments on this activity because they've been incendiary or aggressive (on both sides of this issue). Please keep the comments civil or I'll close the comments section on this activity.

    5. Delia May 5, 2023

      I recommend changing how John, who uses they-them pronouns, prefers 'German sausage'. It could be misconstrued as something sexual. I'm an English teacher and I want nothing to do with my teenage students' sexuality.

    6. Jacob May 8, 2023

      As we are teaching a language to people who are not native speakers, I think it's very important that we be "descriptive" and not "prescriptive". Imagine if 30 years ago someone a lesson saying that you an use Miss or Mrs as titles for women, and nothing else. That lesson would a) not be useful for learners, because they will often encounter the term "Ms" in real life, and b) could contradict their prior knowledge of having already encountered the term "Ms" before.

    7. Jacob May 8, 2023

      I feel like the character limit on comments forces me to make a comment for each slide.
      On slide 2 you teach an archaic meaning of the word gender, which I think will serve to confuse students who encounter the term later in real life. You somewhat introduce the genetics of sex determination here, which has nothing to do with pronouns (you probably don't do karyotyping of people you meet before describing them with a pronoun). It is also oversimplified, so I think you might as well skip it.

    8. Jacob May 8, 2023

      Slide 3 contains errors which your students will probably already know about. There are far more sections than 2 in clothes shopping. Large enough convenience stores even here in Japan can have 3 different types of bathrooms (men only, women only, both). I think you are twisting reality here to serve the gender binary you presented on slide 2, but as I said in the other comment I think slide 2 can just be skipped, as I don't think it helps with the goal of the lesson (teaching pronouns).

    9. Jacob May 8, 2023

      Slide 4 is fine, but it doesn't really match the objective of the lesson you wrote here. This is the standard way to teach the basic gender pronouns. You could add the traditional singular they/them use case (when you don't know the gender of a person being described) to be more complete, but it is probably a good idea to add a slide helping them not get confused with how the nuances are changing in some smaller communities in some western countries".

    10. Jacob May 8, 2023

      Slide 5 is fine, but if you want to include it there's a lot of room to maybe explain how it relates to the rest of the presentation. It seems like a bit of a weird aside, especially given your claim in the comments of slide 6 that "The slidewhow [sic] is to teach about pronouns not to give opinions on personal beliefs" right after giving a personal opinion about feminism.

    11. HolliAnderson May 8, 2023

      "They/them" has actually been endorsed by many formal English writing styles (mainly MLA) back in 2020 as part of their offical guide, along with many other genderless pronouns that exist in English, although they have been used for much much longer. There are many languages without gendered pronouns. To teach English as only having 2 gendered pronouns is inaccurate when our goal should be to educate, unbiasly, modern English in a natural and culturally accurate way.

    12. Jacob May 8, 2023

      I have no questions about slide 6, so no need to answer, but I do have a comment!
      I feel a bit baited by your description of the lesson "This is a straightforward lesson on gender and how to explain it to students so they don't get confused with how the nuances are changing in some smaller communities in some western countries" followed by "I think it is the parents’ responsibility to address these topics."

    13. cto562 May 9, 2023

      I would caution all ALTs to avoid using this presentation without consulting your school's administration and BOE prior. This is an extremely controversial way to present this topic and unhelpful at the junior high school level. Junior high school students should be well versed with using he/she pronouns by this point and will likely not be able to understand the extraneous terms used unless there is heavy Japanese translation.

    14. abblew2 May 9, 2023

      Please explain how this went over with your JTE and school when you used this lesson with your students.

    15. gordy1 May 10, 2023

      @Robert after reviewing the MEXT guidelines you posted, this is well within the boundaries set there. But of course each person should check up the chain seeing as we all have different bosses.

      @abblew2 - the JTE did not even question it and thought it was a fine lesson.

      @ HolliAnderson - Just because MLA endorses radical gender ideology does not mean it is the societal norm and it clearly is not. Did you not clearly see me give an example of how they/them could be used in the singular?

      @Jacob Originally slide 5 and 6 were not included. I edited the ppt to suppress the mass hysteria that was sure to come after discussing with Jake the admin.

    16. deedeek May 10, 2023

      I discussed the use of pronouns in class with my JTE and I enjoyed his points. My students' English level (JHS speaking) is not high enough to understand the 'nuances' of gender, nor do I expect their language to be. We aim more towards communication in English, not the specifics of gender and pronouns, as that will come later. I think this is an important distinction to be made.

    17. mmakuniru May 10, 2023

      I feel like it would be best to just make a presentation about pronouns only and how to use them correctly in English. This lesson isn't politically neutral at all. For example, in the first slide, you say that there are xx chromosomes for females and xy for males when people can have xxy, xxx, or xyy chromosomes, for example. There are intersex people that exist, and they are as common as redheads. Look up guevedoces. Also to reiterate, it is strange that you leave out trans people when most people are at least aware that trans people exist, regardless of how they feel about them. Also not mentioning the third person singular "they" is just bad grammar overall. How else are you going to say "Somebody left their umbrella behind."?

    18. vmfortunato May 11, 2023

      Like others have said, this is not a lesson that can be easily incorporated into class time because its sole focus is NOT English. There are no pronoun practice activities, and the information about gender roles overwhelms the English lesson. There is a difference between teaching pronouns and gender, and even if this was an approved lesson, I would be interested to see how well your students can understand this given this is clearly targeted to high English level students. Do you have a vocab worksheet so they learn what "meiosis" means?

    19. coryb May 11, 2023

      I would strongly advise anyone against teaching children about anything related to societal issues. Japan has a full class (道徳) adhering to MEXT regulations. The ONLY thing I agree with from this PowerPoint is the final slide. Ask your parents. We have no business teaching these types of things.

  • The comment section is closed.