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:

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14 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.

  4. senthil (Posted on 5-15-2017 at 07:11) Reply

    this is the great way of teaching grammar to the students. so that they may not get bored in listening grammar

  5. Oksana (Posted on 10-2-2017 at 06:18) Reply

    Thanks a lot, my students like it !

  6. Mary Pat Forenza (Posted on 3-18-2018 at 09:33) Reply

    How can you involve the entire class? Or is this just a pair activity?

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 3-18-2018 at 13:31) Reply

      It’s a pair activity. Pair students. Have one student in the pair sit with his/her back to the screen, and the other student face the screen. The student facing the screen then describes the video.

  7. Khin chaw su (Posted on 7-14-2018 at 03:57) Reply

    Really great, thank you.

  8. Olga (Posted on 11-1-2018 at 23:00) Reply

    Thanks a lot

  9. Luxis Mik (Posted on 11-23-2018 at 21:27) Reply

    thank you very much, it’s a great activity !

  10. Asmaa (Posted on 3-10-2020 at 05:48) Reply

    A much appreciated idea…. Teaching grammar while having great fun. Thank you for this activity

  11. Helen (Posted on 6-30-2020 at 18:22) Reply

    Thanks a lot , It was a great activities

  12. Nawras (Posted on 9-26-2022 at 15:32) Reply

    Thanks Stacey the lesson was good

  13. Jasbeer kaur (Posted on 4-22-2023 at 09:10) Reply

    Speaking English grammar

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