Author: GLE Team | Published on 1 June 2023


'Can you Cook?' is a reading comprehension task with the opportunity to exchange favourite recipes. 

Stage 1: Warm up

Asking a variety of questions linked to the text, such as ‘Can you cook?’, ‘How long can you go without eating?’, ‘If you were home alone and hungry would you cook/go to a restaurant/order in or ask someone else do to the cooking?’ Take individual answers or a poll for each of these questions. 

Stage 2: Introduce the text, Can You Cook?

Ask learners what they immediately notice. Probing questions such as ‘What is the purpose of the blue boxes?’ or ‘What can you infer about the person in the photo?’

Stage 3: Reading and Speaking

Read the text carefully and say a few things Tom can do for his family. Relate it with what you can do for your family.

Stage 4: Divert the questions to focus on the gendered style of the text.

Ask probing questions such as ‘Why does it seem unusual that Tom would like cooking?’ or ‘Would it seem as impressive if Tom’s sister was cooking for the family? Why/why not?’ Direct the conversation back to the initial answers regarding how long people can go without food (all genders need to eat) and back to who would cook or go to a restaurant (hopefully there was a variety of answers across the genders present.) Encourage discussion around how this text could be more gender sensitive considering pronouns (gendered he/she to neutral they/them), variety of voices etc. 

Stage 5: Give the learners the opportunity to learn about favourite recipes from each other.

Put students in mixed-gender groups and ask them to discuss the foods and share what they know about how to prepare these meals with their groups. If a writing opportunity would benefit the class, learners could write down a recipe and method prior to sharing. 

Stage 6: Plenary

Ask learners if they would like to share a meal they are fond of or one they have heard about from their group with the whole class. 

Gender Responsive Notes: Ensure gender neutral language throughout; mixed gender groupings to ensure engagement with learners of all genders; ensure answers are taken from a variety of learners; the opportunity to analyse a text through a gender lens. 


Pronouns: he/she – for gender neutrality you could, use ‘they/them’

Gender Sensitive: to understand and give consideration to socio-cultural norms and discriminations in order to acknowledge the different rights, roles & responsibilities of women and men in the community and the relationships between them.

Gender Neutral Language: language that avoids bias towards a particular sex or gender. In English, this includes use of nouns that are not gender-specific to refer to roles or professions, formation of phrases in a coequal manner, and discontinuing the blanket use of male or female terms. For example, it’s referring to someone you don’t know as “they” rather than using the pronoun “he” or “she,” or  perhaps addressing a group as “everyone” rather than saying, “Hey, guys, and adapting gendered terms such as businessman to business person instead.

Gender Lens: A “gender lens” means working to make gender visible in social phenomena; asking if, how, and why social processes, standards, and opportunities differ systematically for women and men. It also means recognizing that gender inequality is inextricably braided with other systems of inequality.

Want to know more about the GLE Team?

In a groundbreaking initiative, the British Council, under the English Connects programme, undertook a transformative mission to champion gender-inclusive practices in Sub-Saharan Africa with a cohort of 41 dedicated teacher educators and teachers from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Sudan. This dynamic group referred to as the GLE Team worked together to design this resource.

Read about our Creating Gender Pedagogy Resources for Teachers project:

External links