Author: Adrian Tennant | Published on 1 March 2023


Read what a teacher says about this activity:

Venn diagram is a really good way to get learners to think about the meaning of words. Learners are often already familiar with the idea of a Venn diagram from their Math classes. When I first used it, some were surprised. But soon they understood how it could help them.

 Stage 1: Introduce

On the board draw the attached diagram and ask the learners to copy it down.

Say: ‘Does anyone know how we use this?’ Try to elicit this definition: each circle represents a category. We put things which are true for both categories in the middle, and things which are different in the left and right parts of the circles.   

Stage 2: Choose categories

Above the left circle write: male.

Above the right circle write: female

Stage 3: Give instructions

Say: “I will dictate some words to you. If the word refers only to males, it should be in the left circle. If the word refers only to females, it should be in the right circle. If it could refer to either, it should be in the middle.”

Alternatively, you could say: “I will dictate some words to you.” Then elicit from the learners what they think they should do.  

Stage 4: Dictate and write

Say the following words. Learners should write in the correct part “aunt, brother, dad, mum, nephew, niece, sister, uncle, cousin, parent, grandparent.” Note that the last 3 words should go in the middle.

Stage 5: Check

Once you have finished dictating the words put the learners in pairs or groups and say: “Check your answers together.” Monitor

Then choose a learner and say: “Come and write one of the words in the correct place on the board.” Repeat until you have all the words in the correct place. 

This activity is also good for teaching other subjects in English. For example, in art – implements / materials: brush, canvas, charcoal, clay, paint, pencil etc. or for geography – river / sea: bank, bed, coast, estuary, mouth, shore, source, tide etc. or science – chemistry / physics: boiling point, combustion, energy, force, gravity, non-living things, speed etc.





a Venn diagram


Elicit: How a teacher gets information from learners, e.g. asking questions, prompting.

dictate: say or read aloud

monitor: The way a teacher watches to see how well an individual, group or class is doing a particular task.