English Language Arts, Reading Literature
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • George Bernard Shaw
  • Grade 12 ELA
  • Literature
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Shaw's Play On Issues Of Social Class

    Shaw's Play On Issues Of Social Class


    In this lesson, students write about and discuss how Shaw’s play deals with issues of social class. Then students will meet with their Independent Reading Group about their books.


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.

    Issues of Social Class in Pygmalion

    • Allow about 10 minutes for writing on the question.
      • SWD: Break the writing task down into small steps so not to overwhelm students.
      • ELL: Be sure students have the help they need to write.
    • For additional support for students in choosing a quotation, allow students to pick from among the following quotations from act 2:
      • ✓ Mrs. Pickering tells Higgins that Eliza is a “common girl, sir. Very common indeed.”
      • ✓ Eliza says she’s “too ladylike” to take the chocolate out of her mouth.
    • Use the writing as a formative assessment to give you an idea of how well students understand the play and its issues.


    Choose a quotation from the play so far and use it to explain how Shaw’s play deals with issues of social class.

    • Begin by quoting the reference to social class and identifying the speaker.
    • Explain what the character means in your own words.
    • Explain what the lines of dialogue reveal about the speaker’s attitudes.
    • Write two paragraphs, one about the quotation and another about the speaker’s attitudes.

    Open Notebook

    After you’ve finish writing, share your ideas and discuss in a small group.

    Independent Reading Groups

    • Direct students to meet with their Independent Reading Groups.
    • Review the expectations for today’s lesson with students:
      • ✓ They will share their understanding and questions about the first half of the novel.
      • ✓ They will agree on a continuing reading schedule with committed deadlines.
      • ✓ They will establish procedures for virtual meetings and check-ins.
      • ✓ They will meet with you to share plans.
      • ✓ They will schedule an appointment with you for a reading conference.

    Work Time

    Get together with your Independent Reading Group and have a face-to-face meeting to discuss your book. During the meeting, you need to accomplish the following steps.

    • Share some of your journal entries and your questions about the first half of your novel.
    • Agree on a continuing reading schedule with committed deadlines.
    • Establish procedures for future virtual meetings and check-ins.
    • Meet with your teacher to share your plans.
    • Schedule an appointment with your teacher for a reading conference (either in class or virtual).

    Independent Reading Groups

    • Help groups assign individual responsibilities, if necessary.
    • Make appointments for reading conferences with students who need or request assistance.
    • All students should have a least one conference through the course of the unit, but the setting and length can vary depending on student need.

    Work Time

    Assign individual responsibilities for your meeting. Possible roles could be as follows.

    • Leader
    • Time monitor (especially to make sure everyone has equal time to share)
    • Recorder or note taker for the group (a historian who will keep track of all ideas that might be useful)
    • Inquiring reporter (one who generates questions for the group)
    • Secretary (one who sends out notices for virtual meetings and makes sure everyone has the latest notes)

    You may need to double up on some roles depending on the number of people in your group.

    Independent Reading Groups

    • As students work in groups, visit each group to hear their plans and make suggestions. They will likely need 20 minutes to make decisions before you can start meeting with them.
      • SWD: Keep a special eye on any students that you think might have trouble negotiating group work. Be there to support them as they strive to be an active participant in their group.
      • ELL: As students work in groups, monitor to be sure that they are able to contribute and participate productively.
    • Virtual meeting times are helpful for students in keeping touch with one another during the reading of the novels.
    • Some students who struggle with the text should have face-to-face conferences in addition to the virtual conferences.
    • Meet with each group.
    • Critique plans.
    • Make sure individual students are “on board.”
    • Offer supports (movies, virtual meeting groups, reading group question and answer forum, and so on).
    • Save time for a reflection at the end of the period.

    Work Time

    As you meet in your groups, do the following tasks.

    • Share some of your journal entries from the first half of the novel.
    • Share questions and make clarifications.
    • Set reading deadlines, additional goals, and virtual meetings.
    • After discussing what each person has read, continue to read together aloud (using library voices) or silently at an agreed-upon place in your text.
    • Share reading plans with your teacher in a group reading conference.
    • Establish procedures for individual reading conferences (virtual or face-to-face) when needed.

    Issues of Social Class or Law

    • Allow students to share their reflections and then ask them to submit their writing for you to read over.
      • SWD: Monitor the ability of students to complete the reflection. Students with disabilities may have a difficult time reflecting on their own work. Consider side-by-side coaching to generate ideas.
      • ELL: Allow time for students to discuss and organize their thoughts with a partner before writing their reflections. Allow ELLs who share the same native language to use that language when working together and to use a dictionary (or dictionaries).


    Write about your Independent Reading Group Novel.

    • In what way does the first half of your novel address the issues of social class or law?

    Open Notebook

    Share your reflection with your Independent Reading Group.

    Submit the reflection to your teacher.

    Independent Reading

    • Remind students to continue reading their Independent Reading Group Novel and to turn in journal entries.


    Continue your ongoing homework assignment.

    • Read your Independent Reading Group Novel.
    • Remember to submit two journal entries a week to your teacher and publish some of your journal entries so others can read your work.