Personality Development in Usha Rama
Stimulating activities to teach and practise the difficult but fascinating topic of words that describe people's character
Adjectives of personality can be incredibly difficult to teach and learn. For one thing, not many of them translate well, with an apparently similar word from another language turning out to be positive where the English word is negative, or to have a much wider or more restricted meaning that the translation would suggest. There are also so many personality words, meaning that any kind of freer practice turns up more and more words even if you've already given them a huge list.
Possibilities include putting the adjectives in order of importance for a lover, spouse, employee, boss, teacher or politician. They can then compare their ideas with another group.
Give students a roleplay card telling them what their personality is, and ask them to act that way until their partner guesses what adjective they were given. Situations in which they can do so include shopping, blind dates, job interviews and press/TV interviews.
3. Describe the people
One student uses personality adjectives to describe someone until their partners guess who they are talking about. This could be a family member, someone else that they know, someone famous, or their impressions of someone in a page of portraits that they have been given. It also works for animals, especially in a mixed-nationality class where the similarities and differences in the impressions of the personalities of foxes, elephants etc can be very interesting.
Give students a questionnaire that is supposed to measure one or more aspect of their personality, but without its title. After they have answered the questions, they can work together to guess what they were being tested on (e.g. how generous they are), and to compare their answers with their partner(s). They can then write similar questionnaires for other personality words for other groups to answer the questions on and then guess which character traits are being tested. Creative and high level groups might also be able to improvise such questions without writing them down.
5. Your personality
Ask students to guess each other's personality. The simplest way is for them to make statements such as "I think you are quite patient" for their partner to respond to with expressions like "Are you pulling my leg?" or "You could say that." You could also ask them to guess facts that support that judgement, e.g. "I think that you are quite adventurous. I guess that you have been hiking on your own a few times."