Leigh Davidson Leigh Davidson

Narcissus and the Rejection of Echo: Why Are We So Vain?
Upper-Intermediate to Advanced level


In this lesson Ss will discuss appearances and those people that society categorize as narcissists and vain. Ss will compare and contrast men with women, discussing how much time and concern they devote towards their appearances, leading to a final conversation on who is more vain--men or women. This conversation will prepare Ss for a productive activity (a beauty product presentation), to be completed in the proceeding lesson.


Main Aims

  • To provide Ss with an opportunity for freer speaking practice on the topic of beauty and vanity

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide Ss with an opportunity to practice their gist and detailed reading skills, while reading an article about contemporary men and their beauty products


Warmer/Lead-in (13-16 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Show the WC some pictures of popular, beautiful celebrities (both male and female). Elicit from the WC who they consider as beautiful/attractive. "What do you find attractive/beautiful about this person?" After the WC has viewed and responded to the images, elicit from the Ss which of the women, from the pictures, they would consider as an ideal woman (physically) and which of the men, from the pictures, they would consider as an ideal man (physically). After the WC has selected their ideal man and woman, focus specifically on those images and ask the following: "How much time do you think it takes this person to get ready in the morning? Do you think they wake up, get out of bed, and look this way? Or, do they need to clean up and prepare themselves with beauty products?" After WC response, ask the following: "Who thinks that women are more attractive when they wear make-up? How?" Show the images of Scarlett Johansson and Emilia Clarke (Khaleesi from 'Game of Thrones'), without make-up. Elicit a response from the WC. Write on the WB "NARCISSISM and VANITY." Try to elicit from the WC what these two terms mean. Use President Trump as a living example if Ss get stuck. Refer back to the ideal man and woman. "Based on these images, would you identify any of these people as a narcissist (as extremely vain)? Why (or why not)?"

Exposure (12-15 minutes) • To provide a model of production expected in coming tasks through reading

Write on the WB under the header "MEN VS WOMEN." Elicit from the WC who they think is more vain, men or women, and why. Write some of the Ss answers on the WB. Divide the WC into groups and provide them with a HO of some 'Vanity Statements.' Instruct the Ss to go through the 5 statements and discuss, in their groups, whether they agree or disagree with the statements, and why. "For those statements that you disagree with (that you consider false and not applicable), what would you change in the statement to make it true (applicable)?" Following GW discussion bring the WC together for FB. Ask the initial question again: "So based on our discussion during this activity, who do you think is more vain, men or women?"

Exposure Continued: Pre-Lesson Reading Task on Vanity (16-19 minutes) • To provide a model of production expected in coming tasks through reading

Refer the WC to the pre-lesson reading task. Elicit from the Ss the following information: 1) "Based on the article, what are men doing differently today to make themselves beautiful?" 2) "Why do you think men are more concerned with beauty today? What is your explanation for men's growing interest in their appearance?" (Possible Answers: advertising and identity crisis) 3) "The article mentions traditional gender roles and their changing definition in today's modern world of equal sexes--where the responsibilities of the home and of work are not defined by a particular sex. Based on this article, what was a man's traditional identity and what might be his new identity now?" Focus on the article's subject of traditional gender roles. Write on the WB "FEMALE" and "MALE" (separate the WB into two sections, with four columns in total; one section is for "TRADITIONAL ROLES" and one section is for "CONTEMPORARY ROLES"). Elicit from the WC what they consider as some traditional female roles/responsibilities and what they consider as some traditional male roles/responsibilities. Write some of the Ss answers on the WB. "What about in today's ever evolving society, where gender (defined by our physical sex) is no longer so distinct between the sexes? Can we still separate specific roles and responsibilities into male and female categories?" Write some of the Ss answers on the WB. "We've been talking about male and female roles, but what about masculine and feminine traits/qualities/characteristics?" Write on the WB "MASCULINE" and "FEMININE." Elicit from the WC what they consider as masculine and as feminine behaviors/traits/qualities/characteristicis Write some of the Ss answers on the WB. Build upon this discussion with more probing questions: --"Do you think men have a 'feminine side'? Why (or why not)?" --"Do you think men are 'discovering' it?" --"Do women need to discover their 'masculine side'? Or have women already discovered it? Why (or why not)?"

Useful Language: Expressions on Beauty and Vanity (16-19 minutes) • To highlight and clarify useful language for coming productive tasks

Write on the WB "EXPRESSIONS ON BEAUTY AND VANITY." Write on the WB the following expressions beneath the header: "watch what you eat; take regular exercise; work out at the gym; put on weight; stay in shape; use body lotions; let yourself go; pamper yourself; take pride in your appearance." Concept-check the definitions for some of these expressions, based on Ss answers to these questions: --"If I am watching what I eat, can I eat anything I want? Can I eat pizza 3 times in one week for example? If not, what can I eat? Why might I be 'watching what I eat'?" --"What would you define as 'regular exercise'?" --"What happens when I have 'put on weight'? Have I gotten fat or skinny? How much weight is this phrase describing? A lot of weight or a little bit of weight?" --"What can I do to 'stay in shape'?" Reference the 'take regular exercise' and 'work out at the gym' expressions if Ss can't provide an example. --"What happens when a person 'lets themselves go'? Is this a good thing or a bad thing for our bodies and our health? Why?" Provide an extreme example for someone who has 'let themself go.' --"What can we do to 'pamper' ourselves?" Highlight the differences between 'treating oneself' and 'pampering oneself.' --"Who here 'takes pride in their appearance'? Why (or why not)?" Reorganize the groups according to how much time it takes each Ss to get ready in the morning. Distribute the HO on 'Expressions on Beauty and Vanity' and instruct the Ss to complete the text with the expressions on the WB. Provide an answer key on the WB when the groups have completed the activity. Expand the activity further: "This text is describing a specific person's beauty and health habits and exercise philosophy. Based on the description, in your groups I want you to discuss and decide whether you think the speaker is male or female? Also, discuss and decide whether you agree or disagree with this person's beauty and health philosophy?" Following GW discussion bring the WC together for FB.

Productive Task: Vanity Survey (23-25 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Inform the WC that you want to find out how vain each Ss in the class is. Instruct the Ss that each of them are going to ask 2 Ss 16 questions, focusing on their beauty habits. "These are 'yes' and 'no' questions. Each 'yes' answer gets 1 point. Ask some follow-up questions as well, to get to know your fellow peers better." Provide an example of the activity. Allow plenty of time to complete this activity. Play some background music while Ss are involved in the exercise ("Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera; "Cherry Lips" by Garbage; "Firework" by Katy Perry; "Golden Boys" by Res; "Pretty Hurts" by Beyonce; "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper; "Unpretty" by TLC; and "Video" by India Arie). During the activity, write on the WB "VANITY SURVEY: POINTS" and the scoring system underneath: "I am normal = 6 and below; I am vain = 9; I am extremely vain = 13 and above." When energy level and enthusiasm for the exercise has died down, direct the Ss' attention to the WB and the scoring system. Instruct the Ss to add up their points, for each participant that they surveyed, to determine who is the most vain. Elicit from a few of the Ss the results of their survey.

Productive Task: Beauty Product Presentation (8-10 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills and prepare for a productive activity in the proceeding lesson

Instruct the Ss that they are going to complete a presentation during the following lesson. The presentation is going to be for a beauty product, made specifically for narcissistic and vain customers. The beauty product can be an invention of the group's or something that is currently on the market. If the beauty product is invented by the group, the product can either be something serious or something silly. One beauty product per group. The chief purpose of this group presentation is to convince the T to invest in the group and their beauty product. Detail the 4 things that you will be looking for in the group presentation. Write on the WB: 1) The beauty product name. 2) What the beauty product does. 3) The need for the beauty product. "Why is it important that vain and narcissistic people buy this beauty product? What problem does this beauty product solve?" 4) Any benefits/discounts offered with the investment. "For example, you might offer a campaign of 'buy one face cream and get the second one for free.' Think about ways that would help sell this product and get new customers interested in buying and trying your product." Speaking time should be around 2.5-3 minutes per student. Each group's presentation should last around 5-6 minutes. Allow time for the Ss to select their groups and decide on their beauty product and how they will present.

Web site designed by: Nikue