Skip to content ↓

June 2020 - Year 22 - Issue 3

ISSN 1755-9715

One Size Does Not Fit All

Abeer Okaz is a teacher, teacher trainer, Cambridge CELTA tutor and DELTA local tutor. She has over 21 years of experience in the ELT field and has published in Procedia - Social and Behavioural Sciences and the Journal of Teaching with Technology. She is interested in integrating technology in class and developing materials and classroom activities. Padlet:




This lesson plan is designed for intermediate undergraduate college students. The lesson focus is reading and speaking. This lesson looks at how people insist on achieving their dreams in spite of the society’s stigmatisation. The video and the reading text exploited in this lesson are available on you tube and the Washington post respectively. Using authentic materials aims to help students see real life examples of people who are challenged yet work hard to achieve their dreams. This lesson requires the classroom to be equipped with a projector and a computer connected to the Internet. If technology is an issue, the teacher can substitute the tools used to manage the lesson differently.



  1. Add ideas on answer garden

  1. Watch a video

  1. Match vocabulary on Quizlet

  1. Read a text about Madeline Stuart

  1. Use the questions on the speaking cards
  2. Research and report back


Lead-in stage

(Brainstorming: 3 -5 minutes)

The teacher informs students that they will be watching a video about fashion shows. But before watching, students need to think of one word related to and/or that describes fashion shows. Once students are ready, they can type their answers after clicking the link provided below:

a Answer garden

Click on this link to type your answer

Answer Garden is an interactive tool that allows students to brainstorm ideas and see each other’s answers anonymously. Students can use their devices to access the link or code provided to type in their answers. As students type their answers, the teacher refreshes the link so the whole class can see each other’s ideas. This part of the lesson helps in activating the students’ schemata, and understanding how much they know about the lesson’s theme.

The teacher will not discuss the students’ ideas at this point; h/she sets the next task and informs students that they will be watching a video about fashion shows.

b Video

(Video + discussion: 3 -5 minutes)

The teacher encourages students to take notes as they watch the video and to check if what they typed earlier is relevant to the video.

The video provides a relevant lead in to the lesson’s theme. After watching, the teacher goes back to the ideas jotted earlier and asks students to highlight which ones match the video and why. This open class discussion should prepare the students for the reading text.

The teacher then asks students to answer the two questions below:

  1. Mention 2 things Madeline suffer from
  2. What message is this video trying to spread?

Now that students are familiar with the lesson’s theme, it is important they go over some words, which might appear challenging. The next tool should help them with that.


Blocking vocabulary stage

(Quiz + checking in pair: 3 minutes)

Students download the app “Quizlet” on their devices. They type the link below:

In this task, students match words from the text to their definitions. After matching, the teacher encourages students to check their answers in pairs then he/she provides the answer key. Quizlet is another interactive tool that encourages students to make use of technology in class and to develop as autonomous learners.


Reading for gist and specific information stage

(Both tasks: 20 minutes)

The teacher sets the task and asks students to read the text quickly without worrying about unknown information and/or challenging words. H/she highlights that the purpose here is get the main idea of the text.

Students use their devices to access the reading text:

a Read to get the main idea of the text

Question 1

1. What is one thing Madeline wanted to prove after her participation in the catwalk?

The teacher elicits answers and provides oral feedback.


  1. Madeline wanted to end the stereotype that models have to be disability free


b Read to get specific information

Students read the text again to answer questions 2 to 5. At this point, the teacher encourages students to read the text carefully then check their answers in pairs.

Questions 2 to 8

  1. What did the doctors tell Madeline’s mum at her birth?
  2. Why could not Madeline attend the New York show?
  3. Why did the nurses whisk Madeline away when she was born?
  4. How old was Madeline when she decided she wanted to be a model?
  5. When did Rosanne arrange a photo session for her daughter?
  6. Why do some designers want Madeline to work for free?
  7. What is one thing Madeline still wishes to do?


  1. They told her she would not function beyond the level of a 7-year old.
  2. Because she had an open- heart surgery.
  3. Because they knew Madeline had Down syndrome.
  4. She was 17.
  5. In spring 2015
  6. Because they could not see Madeline as a professional model.
  7. She wishes to walk the runway at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.


Speaking stage

(Group discussion: 10 - 12 minutes)

(How the teacher divides the class depends on the class size)

The teacher divides the class into two groups of 4. Each group will get a card with a question. In their group, students will discuss the question and justify their opinion. The teacher allows each group 5 minutes for group discussion and encourages note taking. After that, the teacher shuffles the groups in order to form four new groups of 2. In their new groups, students use their notes to report back to each other by stating their opinion and justification. At the end, the teacher encourages students to share their ideas in an open class discussion.


Card 1: what is the role of society in shaping people’s identity?

Card 2: What can you do in your community to raise awareness about Down syndrome?


Research stage

The teacher encourages students to do extra research on the topic. Students dig deeper to get a better understanding of their community. This stage takes place outside class time as an extension to the lesson. The teacher can encourage students to share their findings on the class’ blog or wall magazine. H/she can allow five minutes before the next class so students can for example report on how many individuals in their community suffer from Down syndrome or any other deficiencies and the kind of support they receive. They can always report on other findings related to the topic.


Read about Down syndrome
Check Madeline's profile
Watch this video


Please check the Practical uses of Technology in the English Classroom course at Pilgrims website.

Please check the Special Needs and Inclusive Learning course at Pilgrims website

  • ‘A Dove in Flight’ Agency in 21st Century Language Learning
    Sharon Hartle, Italy

  • Technology in Education: How Technology Can Benefit Students and Educators
    Callum McPhillips,UK

  • The Webbing Sisters… Who Are they?
    Angela Maria Vitale, Italy

  • One Size Does Not Fit All
    Abeer Ali Okaz, Egypt