Mr. Bean: A Fun Way to Teach Present Continuous (Present Progressive)

Skill focus: Speaking

Grammar: Present Continuous (Present Progressive)

ESL Level: Pre-intermediate to Intermediate

Number of students: 2 or more

Equipment needed: projector/video screen

Time Required: 15 minutes


Present Continuous Speaking Activity Description

After teaching your students present continuous, put them in pairs. Have one student sit with her back to the video screen, and the other student across from her, facing it.

Next, load a short Mr. Bean video on the screen. I like to use this one about flying (4 minutes):


Explain to the student facing the video that his job is to describe the video to his partner. The partner is not allowed to turn her back to look at the screen.  Tell the student to use the present continuous (e.g. he is smiling) to describe actions that are happening on the screen and other verb tenses.

Let them do it. When finished, talk about the video and see if the partners understood the gist of what happened.

After, have the pairs switch seats and change the video. I use this video the second time (3 minutes):

Note that the word oyster is important in the above story, so be sure to preteach this vocabulary.

Present Continuous Speaking Activity Expansion

This could be made into a more robust lesson 30/40-minute lesson by:

1) Creating warm-up questions about the topic of each video. For example:

Do you like flying? Have you ever been sick on a flight? Should young children fly alone? Do you like buffets? Have you had food poisoning?

2) Pre-teaching key vocabulary (flight attendant, life preserver, buffet, oyster, spoiled, etc)

3) Watching the videos a second time together and helping the students describe them more accurately.

My students always enjoy this activity, and it’s likely because Mr. Bean is hilarious. I let them focus on fluency (not accuracy) and do their best. It’s a fun communicative way to end a grammar lesson on the present continuous/present progressive.

Good luck with your class.

– Matthew Barton / Creator: www.englishcurrent.com

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3 comments on “Mr. Bean: A Fun Way to Teach Present Continuous (Present Progressive)

  1. Anonymous (Posted on 1-16-2016 at 02:35) Reply

    It`s a great idea of speaking activity. My students will be excited to try it. Thank you!

  2. Maria (Posted on 3-24-2016 at 21:25) Reply

    Thank you, it is a great speaking activity. My students will enjoy as I did it.

  3. Bilibot (Posted on 1-29-2017 at 06:43) Reply

    I love this as much my boyfriend (Danilo Raphael Rosario) does. Thank you.

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