Author: GLE Team | Published on 1 November 2023


Active learning refers to activities where learners are learning by doing. Learning can be most relevant and meaningful when learners of all genders are able to learn through real-life tasks connected to context and interacting with real people. 

Stage 1: Plan Active Learning Opportunities

There are endless ways to ensure learners are not passive recipients of information but are actively engaged in lesson content and their learning. One of the great things about active learning is that strategies can often be used for many different topic areas. Some active learning approaches that may be useful for language learning include: 

  • Creating grammar rules posters for the school environment
  • Using new vocabulary create a written document such as a story, newspaper article or poem
  • Following instructions to make something
  • Conducting and taking part in interviews
  • Creating and putting on a performance to share learning (music, drama, role plays, dance)
  • Playing games 
  • Conducting an experiment 
  • Drawing diagrams or creating art to explain or summarise new concepts or specific areas of learning

Stage 2: Ensure Activities are Gender Responsive

Active learning can be a great way to break down gender inequality within the classroom and encourage healthy and positive relationships with learners of all genders. As with any learning approach, teachers should be aware of different experiences, needs and abilities of learners of different genders when planning active learning activities. As an educator make yourself aware of your own biases, perceptions and expectations of learners of different genders. This is also often based on typical gender roles found in your context and may affect how you perceive learners’ abilities and plan active learning opportunities.   

Stage 3: Evaluate and Review

Monitor and evaluate learners’ responses and progress to active learning opportunities to find what works well within your class and who is responding well to these types of activities. Ask your learners if they enjoyed the active learning opportunities. What did they find easy or hard? What other ways would they like to learn? Continue to try out different active learning activities, adapting and improving them. 


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.

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.

Gender Bias: Refers to a person receiving different treatment based on the person's real or perceived gender identity

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: