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

    Professor Higgins and Alfred Doolittle

    Professor Higgins and Alfred Doolittle


    In this lesson, students will resume reading, annotating, discussing, and writing about Pygmalion. In particular, they’ll focus on a conversation between Professor Higgins and Alfred Doolittle.


    • 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 or Law

    • Ask one member of each Independent Reading Group to report on what they have discovered so far about how their book addresses issues of social class or the law.


    Share your Closing reflection from Lesson 15 with the whole class.

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

    Act 2 of Pygmalion

    • Continue triad reading.
      • SWD: Whenever possible, provide supplemental material for students having difficulty reading. Use visuals, audio recordings, Bookshare, DVDs, apps, TV programs, the Internet, and other sources.
    • Encourage students to answer the question in writing.
    • Monitor students’ progress in reading act 2.
    • Take care to make sure that everyone stops at the same place.
    • Remember that References to Social Class in Pygmalion is provided to you and provides examples of lines and phrases in the play having to do with social class. Some vocabulary words and British terms are defined in Vocabulary and British Terms in Pygmalion.


    There are a number of film versions of Pygmalion available, including the musicalMy Fair Lady. If you have access to any of these movies, consider showing all or part of them as the class reading of the play progresses.

    Work Time

    Continue reading and annotating act 2 of Pygmalion in your triad group, starting where Pickering says, “Excuse the straight question, Higgins. Are you a man of good character where women are concerned?”

    Focus on points of confusion, references made to social class, and vocabulary.

    Stop reading after Mrs. Pearce admonishes Higgins to watch his behavior and language (“Thank you, sir. That’s all. [She goes out].”).

    Use this question to focus your reading, and write your response.

    • What is Mrs. Pearce’s concern? Is she right to be concerned?

    Open Notebook

    Discuss the reasons for Mrs. Pearce’s concern about Higgins and Liza with your triad group.

    More of Act 2 of Pygmalion

    • Continue triad reading.
    • Monitor students’ progress in reading act 2.
    • Take care to make sure that everyone stops at the same place.

    Work Time

    Continue reading and annotating act 2 to the entrance of the Japanese Lady (“Beg pardon, miss.”).

    Use these questions to focus your reading, writing brief answers to aid your discussion.

    • What does Alfred Doolittle want?
    • What does Higgins think he wants?
    • What surprises are there in this conversation?

    Open Notebook

    Discuss your responses to the questions with your triad group.

    Doolittle?s Working Class Attitudes

    • Allow about 3 minutes for students to write.
      • ELL: Be sure students have the help they need to write.
    • Facilitate a conversation about the Quick Write question and any other issues or questions students want to share.

    Work Time

    Complete a Quick Write.

    • What does Alfred Doolittle reveal about his working class attitudes toward money and children?

    Open Notebook

    Share your answer with your triad group. Then join in a Whole Group Discussion on the Quick Write question and on any annotations you made about the play.

    Interior Monologue

    • Explain to the class the literary term interior monologue .Interior monologue is a literary device whereby a character shares his or her innermost thoughts and feelings. Usually this is done by an actor speaking his or her thoughts aloud while alone on stage. A savvy writer can include interior monologue to give the reader insight into a character’s thinking.
    • Explain to the class that in everyday life we do this constantly. Ask the class to consider the interior monologue they would have if they were told they had to stay home on a Saturday night and miss a big party.
      • ELL: Be sure all students, especially ELLs, understand the meaning of interior monologue. Consider modeling an interior monologue for students. Be sure to choose a familiar topic, such as what to eat for lunch, so that students can focus on the concept of interior monologue without getting further confused by a lot of new vocabulary.
    • Now, ask students to work in partner groups to write the likely interior monologue of either Professor Higgins or Alfred Doolittle during their conversation.
      • SWD: Create a list of words, topics, and phrases that should be included in the writing assignment. You may wish to work with a group of struggling students to generate two lists: one that would be appropriate for each of the characters, since Doolittle and Higgins would use very different language.
    • Leave time for partner groups to share with one another.


    Interior monologue is a narrative technique that refers to the inner thoughts that pass through our mind.

    • Work with a partner to write the likely interior monologue of either Professor Higgins or Alfred Doolittle during their conversation.

    Open Notebook

    Share your interior monologue with another partner group.

    More Interior Monologue

    • The homework will provide you with a valuable formative assessment about how well your students understand the concept of interior monologue as well as the dynamics of social class.
    • Remind students to continue reading their Independent Reading Group Novel and to turn in journal entries.


    Write another interior monologue.

    • Write an interior monologue from the perspective of the character you didn’t address in today’s class. So, if you already wrote as Alfred Doolittle, write the likely inner thoughts that Professor Higgins had during their conversation. If you wrote as Professor Higgins in class, now write as Alfred Doolittle.
    • Compare the two monologues. In a few sentences, what do you notice about the word choice you used for each character? Does the word choice tell you anything about social class?

    Open Notebook

    Continue your ongoing homework assignment:

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