The Situation

You want your students to create well-developed and rounded characters.

The Solution

There are many ways to teach characterisation. Often, in primary school is starts with something outlandish – you work with familiar archetypes to engage students. However, as you head towards high school and beyond, you will want your students to attain more realism in their characters. They need to consider how their characters will behave in particular situations. For examples, if their character is betrayed, how would they respond? If they witness a bank robbery, what would they do?

Present students with an image of a character. Consider the following:

Have students complete the following:

  1. What is his name?
  2. What is his age?
  3. What is his favourite ice cream?
  4. What does his voice sound like?
  5. What is favourite film?
  6. What is his least favourite vegetable?
  7. How would he react if you were tapping a pencil?

Now, have students introduce your character as if he is a best friend. For example:

Here is my friend, Guy. He is seventeen, almost eighteen. His favourite ice cream is caramel and really hates peppermint. He has a very deep voice, but is quite shy is social situations. He hates to eat carrots. He is easily irritated when he can’t focus.

You now need to reinforce the following sentiment: when we create characters, we are creating a human being.

Once students have found the little nuances to their character, encourage them to work this into the story. For example, if their favourite ice cream is caramel, have a moment where their character is eating this ice cream. Only for a moment just show something about who they are.

Students are now ready to create their own characters. They will need to create a character profile, similar to the following:

Other Helpful Questions about Character

  • How would your character respond if their housemate ate their favourite chocolate bar from the fridge?
  • How would your character behaviour if they were cut off in traffic?
  • Is your character on time or always late?
  • How often does your character shower?
  • How often does your check Facebook or Instagram? Is your character addicted to their phone?
  • How does your character respond to spicy food?

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