Author: GLE Team | Published on 1 September 2023


This activity is a writing task that applies the simple present tense to create sentences.  

Stage 1: Warm up

Ask learners what they know about tenses. Discuss past, present, future and take some examples from a variety of learners. 

Stage 2: Focus on simple present tense.

Explain that the simple present tense is used for facts, generalisations, and truths that are not affected by the passage of time. It can also be used for what happens daily/habitually.

Stage 3

Discuss some examples of simple present tense. Some examples here can be used but also take ideas from learners. 

  1. My son lives in London.
  2. She plays football.
  3. He goes to hockey every day. 
  4. She loves to play football. 
  5. Does she go to school?
  6. It is usually sunny here every day. 
  7. It smells awful in the bathroom. 
  8. Leah showers twice a day. 
  9. He gets up early every day. 
  10. They speak English in the United Kingdom. 

Stage 4

Show the learners a selection of images which include a diverse range of people, each doing different activities e.g person at a fuel pump, person cooking with children, person watering flowers, family playing games with one parent, person caring for a baby. If you are unable to display pictures, you could also draw these rypes of images.  Explain that the task is to write sentences in the simple present form based on the pictures. Focus on daily tasks and encourage a wide range of pronouns. If there are any activities in this list that are dissimilar from the gender stereotypical or norm activities in your context, use this as an opportunity to begin a discussion around this. For example: Do many females play basketball in our school/country? Why is that? Facilitate this discussion with curiosity and without judgement. 

Stage 5

Before learners begin to compose their sentences, draw attention to the gendered pronouns that they may use – he/him/his and she/her/hers. Encourage learners to apply the neutral pronouns of they/them/their in the sentences.   

Stage 6: Plenary

Ask learners to share any sentences they are proud of.  

Gender Responsive Notes: Ensure gender neutral language throughout; mixed gender groups if groups are used; ensure answers are taken from a variety of learners. Ensure gender representation in the images you select. 


Gender Stereotypes: a generalised view or preconception about attributes or characteristics, or the roles that are or ought to be possessed by, or performed by, women and men. A gender stereotype is harmful when it limits learners’ capacity to develop their personal abilities, pursue their education opportunities, professional careers and/or make choices about their lives. For example, it is a common stereotype that men should be confident and aggressive, and women are quieter and passive. 

Gender Norms: ideas, standards and expectations to which women and men generally conform and how they should act within a range that defines a particular society, culture and community at that point in time. They are often internalised early in life; gender norms can establish a life cycle of gender socialisation and stereotyping. For example, a gender norm might be that boys play football and girls watch. 

Gender Bias: Prejudiced actions or thoughts based on the gender-based perception that women are not equal to men in rights and dignity.

Gender Representation: The way men and women are described or portrayed. Frequently gendered representations associate the concepts of femininity and masculinity with popular stereotypes, but also present role models that men and women should look up to or get inspiration from.

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.

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: