Дидактичні матеріали до спецкурсу «Країнознавство Великобританії» II семестр. Плани-конспекти уроків - В. В. Кончіч 2016

Practical training «British Character»

Aims and objectives:

- to introduce and practice vocabulary, grammar;

- to develop skills in reading and speaking; to develop logical thinking, speech reaction, cognitive and creative skills;

- to expand students' knowledge about British character and their attitude towards family.



Greeting. Introducing the topic

T. Good morning! Today we’re going to work on the topic «British Character».

Warm up

Task 1. Answer the questions.

1. What do you think about the people of Great Britain?

2. Can you describe the typical British character?

3. What do you know about the British people’s attitude towards family, home, leisure time?


Task. 2 Read the text, divide it into logical parts. Suggest appropriate title for each part.


Great Britain is an island on the outer edge of the European continent, and its geographical situation has produced a certain insular spirit among its inhabitants, who tend, a little more perhaps than other people, to regard their own community as the centre of the world. The insularity produces a certain particularism among the numerous groups of whom the whole community is composed. The British look on foreigners in general with contempt and think that nothing is as well done elsewhere as in their own country. The British people have also been known as superior, snobbish, aloof, hypocritical and unsociable.

These characteristics have been noted by people from all over the world, but are they typical of all the Britons? The ordinary Briton was seen to be friendly and sociable. There are indeed two nations, with basically different outlooks and characters, in Britain. The two nations are defined simply as the rich and the poor. The traditional opinion about the British, or the English in earlier centuries, was based on the habits of those Britons who could afford to travel, the diplomats and merchants. English vanity and arrogance grew as England fought off the competition from other European countries and became the world’s leading trading nation, going on to industrialize rapidly.

Englishmen tend to be rather conservative, they love familiar things. They are hostile, or at least bored, when they hear any suggestion that some modification of their habits, or the introduction of something new and unknown into their lives, might be to their advantage. This conservatism, on a national scale, may be illustrated by reference to the public attitude to the monarchy, an institution which is held in affection and reverence by nearly all English people.

Britain is supposed to be the land of law and order. Part of the British sense for law and orderliness is a love of precedent. For an Englishman, the best of all reasons for doing something in a certain way is that it has always been done in that way.

The Britons are practical and realistic; they are infatuated with common sense. They are not misled by romantic delusions.

The English sense and feeling for privacy is notorious. England is the land of brick fences and stone walls (often with glass embedded along the top), of hedges, of thick draperies at all the windows, and reluctant introductions, but nothing is stable now. English people rarely shake hands except when being introduced to someone for the first time. They hardly ever shake hands with their friends except seeing them after a long interval or saying good-bye before a long journey.

Snobbery is not so common in England today as it was at the beginning of the XXth century. It still exists, however, and advertisers know how to use it in order to sell their goods. The advertisers are very clever in their use of snobbery. Motorcar manufactures, for example, advertise the colour of their cars as «Embassy Black» or «Balmoral Stone». Embassy black is plain, ordinary black, but the name suggests diplomats and all the social importance that surrounds them, and this is what the snobs need.

The British people are prudent and careful about almost everything. Their lawns are closely cropped, their flower beds primly cultivated, and their trees neatly pruned. Everything is orderly. Drinks are carefully measured, seats in a cinema are carefully assigned (even if the theatre is empty you are required to sit in the seat assigned to you), closing hours rigorously observed.

A tradition that is rooted not only in their own soul, but in the minds of the rest of the world is the devotion of the English to animals. Animals are protected by law. If, for instance, any one leaves a cat to starve in an empty house while he goes for his holiday, he can be sent to prison. There are special dogs’ cemeteries. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was founded half a century before its counterpart for the prevention of cruelty to children.

Most people in Britain work a five-day week, from Monday to Friday; schools, colleges and universities are also closed on Saturdays and Sundays. As Friday comes along, as people leave work they say to each other, «Have a nice week-end. «Then on Monday morning they ask, «Did you have a nice week-end?»

On Sunday mid-mornings most British people indulge in some fairly light activities such as gardening, washing the car, shelling peas or chopping mint for Sunday lunch, or taking the dog for a walk. Another most popular pre-lunch activity consists of a visit to a «pub» — either a walk to the «local», or often nowadays a drive to a more pleasant «country pub» if one lives in a built-up area. The national drink in England is beer, and the «pub», where Englishmen go to drink to, is a peculiarly English institution.

Much leisure time is spent in individualistic pursuits, of which the most popular is gardening. Most English people love gardens, their own above all, and this is probably one reason why so many people prefer to live in houses rather than flats.

The British people are the world’s greatest tea drinkers. They drink a quarter of all the tea grown in the world each year. Many of them drink tea on at least eight different occasions during the day.

The working people of Britain have had a long tradition of democracy, not so much, in the sense of creating formal institutions, but in the active sense of popular cooperation to uphold the will of the people.

Task 3. Match the words to their meanings, then make sentences using them.

1) insularity, n

a) of great value or excellence; extraordinary

2) particularism, n

b) a feeling or attitude of profound respect, usually reserved for the sacred or divine; devoted veneration

3) superior, adj

c) not eager; unwilling; disinclined

4) hypocritical, adj

d) exclusive adherence to, dedication to, or interest in one’s own group, party, sect, or nation

5) vanity, n

e) a mistaken or misleading opinion, idea, belief, etc

6) arrogance, n

f) overbearing pride evidenced by a superior manner toward inferiors

7) affection, n

g) wise in handling practical matters; exercising good judgment or common sense

8) reverence, n

h) the act of pursuing, chasing, or striving after

9) infatuated, adj

i) to maintain, affirm, or defend against opposition or challenge

10) delusion, n

j) a feeling of fondness or tenderness for a person or thing; attachment

11) reluctant, adj

k) the state of being isolated or detached

12) prudent, adj

l) excessive pride in one’s appearance or accomplishments; conceit

13) pursuit, n

m) possessed by an unreasoning passion or attraction

14) uphold, v

n) professing feelings or virtues one does not have

Task 4. Find in the text all the adjectives to describe the British character and try to give their synonyms /antonyms.

Task 5. Answer the questions.

1. Why do some British people tend to regard their own community as the centre of the world?

2. What is the attitude of British people to their monarchy?

3. How do you understand the British snobbery? Give some examples.

4. Can you give examples of British people’s prudentness and carefulness?

5. What is the English people’s attitude to animals?

6. How do Britons like to spend their weekends?

7. What is the most popular leisure time for most English people?

8. What do you think about the Britons’ habit to do everything in a certain way?

Task 6. Write English equivalents to the following expressions and use them to discuss the text.

• ставитись до іноземців з презирством;

✵ бути відомим своєю зверхністю та лицемірством;

✵ англійське марнославство та зухвалість зросли;

✵ ставитись з любов’ю та шаною;

✵ країна закону та порядку;

✵ вводити в оману романтичними ілюзіями;

✵ відношення до приватності є загальновідомим;

✵ бути розсудливим та обережним;

✵ відданість тваринам;

✵ особливий англійський заклад;

✵ ідивідуальні справи;

✵ підтримувати воління людей.

Task 7. Read the texts.


The English are a nation of stay-at-home. «There is no place like home,» they say. And when the man is not working he is at home in the company of his wife and children and busies himself with the affairs of the home. «The Englishman’s home is his castle,» is a saying known all over the world. And it is true.

A «typical» British family used to consist of mother, father and two children, but in recent years there have been many changes in family life. Some of these have been caused by new laws and others are the result of changes in society. For example, since the law made it easier to get a divorce, the number of divorces has increased. In fact one marriage in every three now ends in divorce. This means that there are a lot of one-parent families. Society is now more tolerant than it used to be of unmarried people, unmarried couples and single parents.

Another change has been caused by the fact that people are living longer nowadays, and many old people live alone following the death of their partners. As a result of these changes in the pattern of people’s lives, there are many households which consist of only one person or one person and children.

You might think that marriage and the family are not so popular as they once were. However, the majority of divorced people marry again, and they sometimes take responsibility for a second family.

Members of a family — grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins — keep in touch, but they see less of each other than they used to. This is because people often move away from their home town to work, and so the family becomes scattered. Christmas is the traditional season for reunions. Although the family group is smaller nowadays than it used to be, relatives often travel many miles in order to spend the holiday together.

In general, each generation is keen to become independent of parents in establishing its own family unit, and this fact can lead to social as well as geographical differences within the larger family group.

Relationships within the family are different now. Parents treat their children more as equals than they used to, and children have more freedom to make their own decisions. The father is more involved with bringing up children, often because the mother goes out to work. Increased leisure facilities and more money mean that there are greater opportunities outside the home. Although the family holiday is still an important part of family life (usually taken in August, and often abroad) many children have holidays away from their parents, often with a school party or other organized group.

Who looks after the older generation? There are about 10 million old-age pensioners in Britain, of whom about 750,000 cannot live entirely independently. The government gives financial help in the

form of a pension but in the future it will be more and more difficult for the nation economy to support the increasing number of elderly. At the present time, more than half of all old people are looked after at home. Many others live in Old Peoples’ Homes, which may be private or state owned.


The majority of the British population live in small houses built close together. A typical house of this kind is built with two floors. The front door, which faces the street, opens into a hall with two rooms, one on each side of the hall. One of them is the dining-room; the other may be called the sitting-room or the living-room. The most modern name for this room is the lounge.

The rooms upstairs are bedrooms; they are often very small. Often the dining-room is the most comfortable room in the house, and the one that is used all the time. The other members of the family bring their hobbies and games to the table. But when the television set is turned on, no one can do anything in the dining-room.

Very many houses of this type were built in British cities in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Today the land on which they stand has become very valuable and the owners either sell it or pull down the old houses and build large blocks of flats. In this way the owners make more money.

Many British people give their suburban house a name, such as the Cedars, the Poplars, The Rhubard Cottage, even though there are no trees or vegetables in their gardens. People of high social position have country houses with names, so a house with a name seems «better» than a house with a number. Numbers make the postman’s work much easier, but this is not important.

Task 8. Agree or disagree the statements. Expand the point of view given in the statement or prove that it is false.

1. The British people are devoted to their families.

2. The increasing number of divorces has been caused by the fact that people are living longer nowadays.

3. Divorced people are afraid to take responsibility for a second family.

4. Relatives try to keep in touch.

5. Children are not so independent now as they once were.

6. The government doesn’t support elderly people.

7. The lounge is situated downstairs.

8. The bedroom is the most comfortable room in the house.

9. The land in Britain is not very expensive.

10. Every house has its own name.

Task 9. Answer the questions.

1. How do you understand the saying «The Englishman’s home is his castle»? Explain it.

2. What is a «typical» British family? How many persons does it usually contain? Do all of them live together?

3. Who usually takes care about old-age pensioners in Britain? And in your country?

4. In Britain members of a family used to get together on Christmas and other occasions. Is it a good tradition? Do you always like to be with your parents?

5. What do you think about British homes? Why do some people give names to their suburban houses? Is it so useful and necessary?



Task 10. Answer the question.

♦ What common features do British and Ukrainian people possess? Home assignment

1. The British people are known as superior, snobbish, aloof, hypocritical and unsociable. Does this characteristic refer to all of them? Can you give any examples borrowed from books and films characterizing the British people?

2. In Britain one marriage in every three now ends in divorce. How can you explain this situation? What is it necessary to escape divorce? Give your opinion.

3. What do you think about the fathers’ role in British families? Is a father’s role in the family as important as mother’s? What do you think about it?

Additional material to the topic «British Character»

Task 11. Listen to the text.


Foreigners have many ideas about what the English are like. For example, some people say the English are always cold and reserved, this means that they don’t talk much to strangers, and don’t show much emotion. A reserved person never tells you anything about himself. But the people of the North and West of Britain are much less reserved than those of the South and East. Some believe the English eat porridge for breakfast and read The Times every day. Many Australians believe that the English always whine and call them «whining poms». The Welsh, Scottish and Irish also have a thing or two to say about what they think the English are like with reference to the British Empire. And, of course, the English themselves have plenty of ideas about what they are, such as being proud of having one of the oldest parliament in the world.

English people are famous for their habit of politeness. It is considered polite to give up one’s seat to a woman who is standing, to open a door for her, carry things for her, and so on. Most British people expect the person in front of them to hold the door open for them. People think you are rude, if you don’t do this. Most British people queue when they are waiting for a bus or waiting to be served in a shop. But during the rush hour, when a bus or train arrives, people often push forward to make sure they get on. This is called jumping the queue. British people keep their old traditions and are very proud of them. They are famous for their sense of humour. English people show great love for animals. And, of course, English people are fond of sports. Many continentals think life is a game; the English think cricket is a game. To many Englishmen cricket is both a game and a standard of behaviour. When they consider something unfair, they say «That isn’t cricket».

The traditional love of English people for tea is well known. They like to drink tea with milk. They have their five-o’clock tea not only at home or in offices, but also in tea-rooms and tea-shops, which can be found in every town.

A nation is born from its land, its history, its art, its traditions and its institutions. These things work together to make people what they are. But above all, a nation is made up of people, and although there are things they all share, all of those people are different. We can say there is still a «British nation», and one of the most characteristic features of Englishmen is their traditions, which they respect, and which they have kept for centuries. The traditions don’t only accumulate the experience and wisdom of many generations, but they bring some stability into the rapidly changing world.

Task 12. Complete the sentences.

1. English are always cold and reserved, this means ... .

2. The people of the North and West of Britain are ... .

3. Many Australians believe that ... .

4. The English are proud of having ... .

5. English people are famous for ... .

6. Jumping the queue is ... .

7. When English people consider something unfair, they say ... .

8. They drink tea ... .

9. One of the most characteristic features of Englishmen is ... .

10. The traditions ring ... .

Task 13. Answer the questions.

1. Can you describe a reserved person?

2. Why are English people famous for their habit of politeness?

3. Why is cricket a standard of behavior for Englishmen?

4. Where do Englishmen drink tea?

5. Is Britain a country of traditions?

6. Why are English proud of their parliament?

7. What is the attitude of the English to traditions?

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