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Stereotypes explain a commonly held thought about a group of people in general or a specific type of person. Such commonly held stereotypes, regardless of accuracy, include obese people eat too much, all Asians are adept at martial arts, or many homeless are lazy who also have alcohol or drug addictions. Although positive stereotypes do exist, they almost always generate negative associations.

Stereotypes may seem laughable at first, yet they are difficult to ignore. Even worse, they slowly influence people. Over a long period of time, stereotypes become viewed as normal or typical, which then leads to prejudice and unfair treatment. People targeted by stereotypes may be unable to overcome these negative views. Society may also prevent them from succeeding in school or work.

Preview the lesson material:

Warm Up: Discuss the question with your partner for five minutes.

  1. What does "stereotype" mean? Please explain and give examples.

Comprehension Questions: Answer the questions before/after your read the article.

  1. What does the article say about positive stereotypes?
  2. What sort of problems can happen because of stereotypes?

Summarization: Summarize the article with a partner. Try to do so with only two or three sentences.

Discuss: Discuss these questions with a partner. Remember to support your answers.

  1. What sort of stereotypes have you heard? Please explain.
  2. What sort of stereotypes are there in your country? Please explain.
  3. Have you ever been the victim of a stereotype? How did it make you feel?

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