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Humanising Language Teaching
Year 4; Issue 6; November 02

Lesson outlines

Design a Jacket for 21st century teenagers... Secondary and Adult
Web Exercise

By Clement LAROY, Teacher Trainer and author (Longman, O.U.P., C.U.P.)
E-mail: clemlaroy@yahoo.com

AUDIENCE from adolescent to adult
LEVEL intermediate +
TIME 50 minutes in one lesson, 50 minutes in another lesson
AIMS Developing creativity
Speaking about clothes, designing clothes, Internet searching
MATERIALS Large sheets of paper, felt - tipped markers or OHP transparencies plus ditto markers
Dictionaries to look up some vocabulary think of translating dictionaries, dictionaries where they can find the word even without knowing the word in any language, for example, picture dictionaries, photo dictionaries and a dictionary such as the Oxford WORDFINDER dictionary, where the vocabulary is organized in topics.


1 - Introduce the topic, for example
a) by asking the class how they feel the clothes people of their age wear are different from the clothes adults wear. If you have a group of adult students, ask them how they different they feel the clothes of adolescents are. This can be done in groups of four, where a secretary reports for the group. (Monitor carefully feed in some words, correct implicitly and to detect what structural points and vocabulary they will need to improve)
b) by speaking about some teenagers whose clothes struck you that particular day, describing their clothes as precisely as you can ( in this way brushing up vocabulary they will need ). Then ask them if they have recently seen adults / youngsters with striking clothes.

2 - Next bring up the topic of all the things a modern teenager might want to carry with her / him, get them to list them. Give them one or two starters. You should hear things such as

    a walkman + earphones / headphones + cassettes
    a discman + earphones + CDs
    a mobile phone
    a drink, chewing gum ...
    a portable computer, an electronic agenda, pens, a wallet, purse, money, sunglasses
    etc ..

3 - Suggest they should - in groups of four to six - design a jacket in which all of this can be carried.
- They could design one for boys and one for girls.
- Ask them to think of how the clothes should be designed to keep all this conveniently and safely. - - What materials, fastenings, etc.?
- They need to think of the really modern active teenager who moves about on a skateboard, roller skates etc. Or one who likes to move in all possible ways (their extreme customer should be a hip hop fanatic maybe)
Allow a good 30 minutes for this and ask them to prepare a design for next time. Monitor and help out


MATERIALS: class set of photocopies or Internet access:

1 - Each group in turn present their design and defend it. The others ask questions, criticize etc. Allow five - ten minutes for each.

2 - Tell the learners there actually is a commercial product aiming at this age group. You could then distribute the photocopies or take them to the computer lab. Give them the following URL


3 - In groups they compare their design with all the features of the 'Scott e Vest' . A secretary will have to speak for the group, using some of additional lexis that comes up in the article.

4 - Each secretary reports.


a) To present their designs, organize an imaginary fashion parade: a participant is a model and 'displays' the features of the jacket as the secretary describes it like a commentator at a fashion parade.
b) Ask them to find a site on the Internet for the next lesson and to find the documents themselves.

Follow - up:

a) They could send an e - mail or an “old - fashioned” letter to Scott e Vest to suggest further improvements.
b) Role play: buying a jacket...
c) Role play: a salesman tries to convince a shopkeeper to sell their jacket
d) Design an ad for such a jacket


With my students this went down a treat. I'd love to hear how your students responded