Mind Your Manners

Scripture: Genesis 39-41

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will learn manners and how to address authority figures respectfully and practice through role play.

Guiding Question: How can we show respect to authority figures and show good manners in English?

Materials: Costumes or picture cards of authority figures, phrases written on cards, 3 boxes/tables for materials

Procedure: Discuss Pharaoh and Potiphar as authority figures. How do you think Joseph addressed them? Joseph’s humility and respect for others probably helped him rise to his high position. Does how we talk to people make them respect us more? What kinds of words are more respectful? What kinds of words/phrases are too casual and show less respect? Discuss types of authority figures that we respect in our community. Examples: teachers, police officers, government leaders, grandparents, parents. Show picture cards of examples to give students a visual. Introduce the following ways of addressing people one at a time:
1. Mr. (said in front of a man’s name)
2. Ms. (Said in front of a woman’s name)
3. Sir (way of addressing a man)
4. Ma’am (way of addressing a woman)
5. Please (said before asking for something)
6. Thank you/ No thank you (Said when someone gives or offers you something)
7. May I…(said to ask for something)
8. Yes
9. No
10. You are welcome (said after giving something to someone who says “thank you”)

Students can practice using these terms with role play by interacting in pairs. Practice and model for the students first. Here is a suggested format:

Have three distinct tables/boxes:
Box 1: This is for authority figures. For this box, have costumes of authority figures. Or this box can have name cards with pictures and labels of authority figures. Partner 1 will pull from this box and take on their character. Review each with the students so that they know what they are. Here are examples
• Police
• Kings
• Grandparents
• etc.

Box 2: Partner 2 pulls from the second box. It should contain phrases such as:
• Mr___/Ms.___, please help me.
• Mr___/Ms.___, thank you for helping me.
• Mr___/Ms.___, please give me a pencil.
• Thank you, Mr___/Ms.___.
• Mr___/Ms.___, may I leave the room?
• Mr___/Ms.___, may I have some more water?

Bold the words that are directly from their original vocab list. If students are more advanced, they can just have words such as “Please” and “May I” and they can finish the sentence themselves.

Box 3: Partner 1 who is acting as the authority figure will reply using a phrase from this box:
• Yes, thank you for asking.
• No
• Yes
• You are welcome.

Students practice role playing with their partner by pulling from the box according to whether they are partner 1 or 2. Encourage them to add to the prompts and go back and forth in conversation using as many manners as they can.

Notes: For the sake of teaching conversational English, emphasize with students that though they may hear “uh-huh,” “yeah,” and “uh-uh,” these are very casual and not appropriate to use with people who are older.

Also, emphasize that manners are different in different regions. For example, saying ma’am is not as acceptable in northern U.S. as southern U.S. Sir is more commonly used for government officials, officers, military, etc.

Additional Questions:

  • What are some authority figures that you can think of in your community?
  • How are these phrases similar to phrases/grammar in your home language?
  • What are more phrases we would need to learn to talk with a_____ (teacher, police, government official etc.)?

Supplemental Activity:

  • Students can make flash cards of authority figures in their community. On the front they can write the word and on the back they can draw a picture.

Written by: Savannah Negas

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