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Sino-Canadian International College, Guangxi University, Online English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas
for Reading Lessons...
Reading: Stereotypes and
To generate discussions from issues in articles. Expression of
viewpoints and opinions.
WHAT ARE "STEREOTYPES"?
Stereotype are general ideas of a person, created without taking the
whole person into account. When we stereotype a group of people, we
depict all of the individuals within that group as having the same
characteristics even though they are probably all very different.
People often use labels or categories to describe others, these labels
can be based on such characteristics as clothing, looks, the way a
person talks, or the groups to which he or she belongs. People often
make assumptions about groups of people they don’t even know.
When we make assumptions about an entire group of people, those
assumptions are referred to as stereotypes. When assumptions and
stereotypes influence our attitudes, we may find that making a fair
judgment about someone or something is difficult. This influence on
judgment is called a “bias.”
- Definition: An idea that is taken for
granted but not necessarily proven. Example: "Non-Asians often
make the assumption that Asians are smart."
- Definition: Attitudes or behaviors
based on stereotypes of people. Example: "When we omit people
of color in our history lessons, we display a bias that suggests
that their contributions are not important."
- Definition: A categorization of
people according to shared culture, language, or geographic region.
Example: "The terms “Italian” and “Irish” describe two
distinct ethnic groups."
- Definition: A categorization of
people based on shared biological traits such as skin color, hair
texture, and eye shape. Example: "One function of the U.S.
Census is to count the citizens by race, which is categorized as
Black, White, Latino, or Native American."
COMMON STEREOTYPES: Examples of common
stereotypes about Americans are Freedom, Fast Food, Cars and Highways,
Television, Computer, Culture and Sport. Americans are free people
living almost without any restriction. That's why we speak about the
"American Way of Life".
There is probably some truth in stereotypes, but they tend to be very
general. For example, it is true that America is the home of Fast Food.
With enterprises like McDonald's and KFC.
English speaking countries have many stereotypes about each other:
British and Canadian thoughts on Americans...
Americans are loud, they have low intelligence, they all have guns and
they are all fat.
American thoughts on the British...
British are all pretentious and and look down their noses at other
cultures, British use copiously large words when something more
diminutive will suffice, The British are all obese from food that is
either boiled or deep fried.
Common Stereotypes about the Germans
include: The people like to drink beer, are
always on time, unfriendly, especially in shops and supermarkets.
Germans have rules, regulations and laws for everything.
GENDER STEREOTYPES (MEN / WOMEN)
What does it mean to act like a man?
(e.g., men don't cry, men are tough, men are strong, mens jobs)
What does it mean to be ladylike?
(e.g., girls are polite, girls are neat, girls are passive, womens jobs)
Where do we learn these gender roles?
(People in entertainment? Sports? Media?.)
Where do women learn these messages?
A stereotype confirms the belief that if you are a girl or a boy, or a
woman or a man, you must perform these specific roles, and do them well.
This belief takes away our personal choices in deciding our own
interests and skills. It also discourages men from participating in
"women's work" (such as flower arranging and child care) and
it restricts women from choosing roles that are traditionally
"male" (such as engineering and science).
Differences in our society are many, including age, religion, physical
and mental abilities, gender, sexual orientation, income, family or
social status, and physical appearance. Anyplace where differences are
found leaves room for stereotypes.
Stereotypes are generalizations about people usually based on inaccurate
information or assumptions rather than facts. Stereotypes do not take
into account the great diversity of people within a group of people. Nor
do stereotypes consider the present circumstances of the individual.
Even worse, stereotypes can lead to prejudicial or discriminatory
Stereotypes are learned. Young children learn to stereotype others by
the comments or behavior of their parents or other adults in their
lives. Some stereotypes show up in television, music, books, school
textbooks, and advertising. People may learn stereotypes by believing
someone else's opinion when they haven't had firsthand experience.
What can we do to reduce or eliminate stereotypes in our lives?
1. Focus on every person as an individual.
2. Become more aware of stereotypes and how they interfere with our
ability to perceive and interact with people.
3. Remember that there are more differences within a group than between
4. Recognize that we're all part of many groups, none of which can
totally explain or define who we are.
5. Learn to look at things from the other person's point of view.
6. Adapt a more humble, tentative attitude about the accuracy of our
7. Be willing to learn more about the culture and background of people
different from ourselves.
8. Take opportunities to neutralize stereotypes when we hear them.