Let Students Laugh Their Way to Fluency with ESL Mr. Bean Lesson Plans
Have you ever watched a grown man put a turkey on his head and think to yourself, “Hmm, this could make a great English lesson”?
What person in their right mind puts food on their head, after all? Certainly not the type of person that should be teaching!
What if I told you that you can take these nonsensical scenarios and use them to teach English? You’d probably think I’ve lost my mind as well.
But you can, with the help of a popular British TV show named “Mr. Bean.”
Share a Good Laugh with Our ESL “Mr. Bean” Lesson Plans
Using “Mr. Bean” videos in your lessons is a great way to lighten the mood. Students will see a number of other ridiculous antics that will have them laughing out loud. And best of all, with a little creativity, you can use these videos to help enhance a wide range of English lessons. You’ll find that students from all over the world appreciate “Mr. Bean,” and will welcome the addition of this quirky show into your lesson plans.
Want to learn more about how you can add some fun to your lessons with “Mr. Bean” videos? Read on to find out! But first, here’s a little background on the TV series and how it can be used to teach your students.
Who Is Mr. Bean?
Played by comedian Rowan Atkinson, Mr. Bean is the main character of the TV series, “Mr. Bean,” which as you’ve probably guessed, is named after him. The popularity of the TV show has helped the character Mr. Bean expand into a worldwide brand, where he’s known for his crazy, off-the-wall antics.
You might be surprised to find out that “Mr. Bean” is great for the ESL classroom for several reasons.
First off, there is very little dialogue in the videos. Because of that, even beginning ESL students will be able to understand the story Atkinson acts out, and lack of listening comprehension will not hamper the activities you can do with the videos.
Also, the videos take place in regular, day-to-day situations. They aren’t high-speed car chases, huge heists in Las Vegas or other scenarios your students won’t be able to relate to. Instead, “Mr. Bean” videos cover mundane events like preparing meals, going to the dentist, attending community events and anything else students may find themselves participating in on any given day. This gives you the opportunity to teach common vocabulary with these videos.
What’s more, because these videos are so easy to relate to, they’re a great starting point for discussions and follow-up activities. As you’ll see in the lesson plans below, each skit included in this post has the potential to serve as a springboard for grammar, speaking, writing and vocabulary activities.
Most of all, “Mr. Bean” is funny. So much of the show’s humor is at the character’s expense, and much of it is physical comedy. And while most humor does not cross cultures, “Mr. Bean” certainly does. In my experiences as an ESL teacher, students from all over the world have enjoyed “Mr. Bean” videos and have improved their understanding of English from watching them.
If you want to add even more everyday curriculum into your lessons, try teaching with FluentU.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language lessons.
Now that we’ve got the basics covered, here are some “Mr. Bean” videos and accompanying activities to get you started.
3 Knee-slapping “Mr. Bean” Videos and Activities for Your Next Lesson
1. “Mr. Bean: Sandwich for Lunch”
In this video, Mr. Bean enjoys his sandwich and a cup of tea using very unorthodox methods.
To start, begin with a review of food vocabulary, making sure to cover popular sandwich ingredients with your students. You might want to even try showing them a picture of a picnic, then brainstorm a list of things a person might eat for lunch. If that’s too advanced, pick a selection from this list of vocabulary instead and review any unfamiliar words with your class.
After you’ve pre-taught the vocabulary, show your students the video and have them make notes on some actions Mr. Bean performed. When the video is over, ask each student to mention one action they saw Mr. Bean take when making his sandwich.
Once students have covered what Mr. Bean did, have them make statements about what he should have done following this pattern: Mr. Bean cut his bread with scissors, but he should have cut his bread with a knife.
You can also invite students to make statements with other modal verbs such as could, ought to and might.
As a follow up to the video, have students give a “how to” presentation to the class. If appropriate for their skill levels, have students also explain how to make a certain food, perhaps one from their home culture, using the imperative form (command form) as they explain the process.
2. “Merry Christmas, Mr. Bean”
The beauty of “Mr. Bean” is that episodes never feel out of place, not even Christmas episodes. Filled with wacky, slapstick humor, this episode is so funny that you can teach it any time of the year—not just over the holidays.
Start this lesson off with a discussion about the holidays. Have your students talk about what holidays are special where they’re from, as well as how they celebrate them. You can then explain the importance of Christmas in the English-speaking world. And if you’re teaching low levels, be sure to go over holiday vocabulary to assist in the discussion.
After breaking the ice with a discussion, play the video for your students. As they watch the video, have them take notes on what Mr. Bean does as he prepares for the holidays. (For example: goes shopping for presents, plays with a nativity scene, etc.)
Once you watched the video and gotten in a few laughs, let your students work in pairs to come up with their own lists of how they prepare for the holidays. Then have them make a list of how Mr. Bean prepared for his, then compare the two.
Follow the activity up by having students write an essay comparing and contrasting their own traditions with Mr. Bean’s. They can write one paragraph about their own holiday preparations and another about Mr. Bean’s, making note of any similarities and differences they share with the character.
3. “The Trouble with Mr. Bean”
In this video, Mr. Bean goes through his morning routine before getting himself into trouble at the dentist’s office in more ways than one.
Before watching the video, work on a sequencing activity with your students. Explain how they can use the images in a comic strip to put the story in the correct chronological order. Show students a comic strip highlighting the sequence of events.
Once finished, watch the video with your class. Then, have students work in small groups to list the events of the video in chronological order. The correct order should be:
- Morning routine
- Drive to dentist
- Interaction with police officer
- Take the comic book from the boy
- Incapacitate dentist
- Receive tooth filling
After you’ve covered the order of events, have each person in the group tell their partners the events of the video, paying close attention to transitional words between each event.
Follow up the video with an activity where each student writes their own comic strip with the events of the video. For each frame, they should draw a simple picture and choose a small bit of dialogue to include. You can give students a template for their comic strip, or simply have them create their own with a blank sheet of paper.
Bringing the Fun with “Mr. Bean”
Language learning should never be boring, but sometimes it needs to have a little more excitement than others. If you want to up the fun level of your next class while getting them practicing English, try one of these lessons inspired by “Mr. Bean.”
Your students will be laughing their way to fluency.