Author: GLE Team | Published on 1 September 2023


'The Lazy Chameleon' is a short fable story with accompanying comprehension questions. 

Stage 1

Ask learners if they know what a chameleon is. Discuss the qualities of a chameleon they are familiar with (e.g. the ability to change colour to blend with a background; long tongue). Show a picture if possible.  

Stage 2

Introduce the Lazy Chameleon story to learners. Decide how you would like to read this depending on what works for the group – individual reading; small group reading; whole class. 

Stage 3

As learners read, encourage them to note down any vocabulary they are unfamiliar with. If learning in groups, discuss these words with the wider group and see if anyone can offer a meaning. If there are dictionaries or online access, have learners look up any new words. If learners want to determine the sex of the chameleon, be aware that gendered adjectives may start to appear such as “pretty” for female or “handsome/strong” for male. Question the choices of these adjectives with curiosity and without judgement to facilitate a discussion on the choices for these gendered adjectives. 

Stage 4

Introduce the following questions for learners to answer. 

Knowledge Q: What are some examples of nouns in the story?

Answer: Chameleon, Mudavula village, maize meal, etc.

Application Q: What are nouns used for?

Answer: They are used to refer to people, places, ideas and things; and function as subject and objects in sentences.

Knowledge Q: What function does an adjective perform?

Answer: It describes nouns.

Application Q: Find adjectives in paragraph 1 of the story.

Knowledge Q: Explain the meaning of these words - village, maize meal/corn meal

Answer: A village is a small town.  A maize meal is a meal made up of maize and other ingredients.

Knowledge Q: Who is the major character in the story?

Answer: the lazy chameleon.

Application Q: What adjective could be used to describe the chameleon?

Answer: One adjective that describes the nature of the chameleon is "lazy" use it in a sentence of your own. Also, identify all other adjectives used in the story and use each in your own sentences.

Stage 5

Give learners time to complete the answers.

Stage 6: Plenary

Discuss answers or any misconceptions.  

Gender Responsive Notes: Ensure gender neutral language throughout; mixed gender groups; ensure answers are taken from a variety of learners, facilitate discussion around any gendered adjectives that may appear. 


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.

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:

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