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KS3/4 English: Educating Rita 5 (1983)

A speaking and listening activity looking at characterisation

Main image of KS3/4 English: Educating Rita 5 (1983)
AuthorJessica Hardiman
TopicDeveloping a full impression of character in Educating Rita
Key Words Educating Rita, Willy Russell, Frank, Liverpool, Open University, Education, Literature
Show full lesson spec

A Speaking and Listening assessment exploring the issues ]Rita faces as the play progresses and the way in which they are dealt with in the film .

This lesson has been developed as part of a scheme of work based on the complete film of Educating Rita, not only the extracts provided on Screenonline (although these may prove useful as well). This lesson takes as its basis the scene in which Denny burns Rita's books (around 30 minutes into the film).

This lesson idea combines close reading of Act One scene five with the play in performance in order to develop students' reading skills, and close reading and inference, but also their speaking and listening skills. This lesson will also enable students to anticipate audience response and explore ideas with reference to the text as a whole where appropriate.

Lesson Objective

  • To be able to be able to present information clearly and persuasively to others, selecting the most appropriate way to structure and organise their speech for clarity and effect.


In the starter, ask students to write down adjectives or phrases to describe Rita, finding quotations from the text, including stage directions, to support their ideas. They should look only at the fist five scenes in Act One. The starter revises the skill of selecting quotations and using them to make inferences about a writer's presentation of a character. Ask students to concentrate on selecting and commenting on at least one quotation from each of the following groups:

  1. Lines spoken by Rita/Frank;
  2. Punctuation used in Rita's speeches;
  3. Stage directions.

During feedback again emphasise that students need to refer to these three groups in their coursework in order to attain a pass or higher grade.


Main Attraction

This lesson requires students to work on power point presentations, and to have individual access to the film so that they can capture stills to include in their presentations. Explain that the lesson will focus on presenting skills which depict Rita's life using evidence from Act One, scene five.

Students should read as a class Act One scene five with two students playing Rita and Frank. The focus during the reading should be for students to select new information about Rita's life (e.g. her issues with Denny, her growing cultural exposure). Ask students to work on computers to capture five freeze frames from the action in the film which correspond to the fifth scene of the play.

Ask students to put these frames, once selected, into a power point presentation (one frame per slide) and prepare a talk about the issues Rita faces in her life, using the stills to depict these issues. Ask students to use the text to select quotations from the play to support their presentation whenever possible. This will probably take two lessons to prepare.


End Credits

Also, importantly, ask students to consider that visual images can be read like other written texts and that the position of elements within the image, e.g. the colours used and the lighting, can all affect interpretations.

In the plenary, ask students to add addition their ideas and to emphasise their own ideas and point of view. They should try to comment on the colours, lighting and shots used in each of the frames they have selected.


External Links

Video Clips
1. Party preparations (3:18)
2. The wedding (3:41)
3. Summer school (2:55)
4. Dying without Mahler (1:58)
Downloadable Teaching Resources

Related Films and TV programmes

Thumbnail image of Educating Rita (1983)Educating Rita (1983)

Read more about this film

See also

Thumbnail image of KS3/4 English: Educating Rita 1 (1983)KS3/4 English: Educating Rita 1 (1983)

Comparing the play with the film

Thumbnail image of KS3/4 English: Educating Rita 2 (1983)KS3/4 English: Educating Rita 2 (1983)

Looking at characterisation though dialogue as well as mise-en-scene

Thumbnail image of KS3/4 English: Educating Rita 3 (1983)KS3/4 English: Educating Rita 3 (1983)

Dramatic devices and their influence on an audience's interpretations

Thumbnail image of KS3/4 English: Educating Rita 4 (1983)KS3/4 English: Educating Rita 4 (1983)

Developing a full impression of a character

Thumbnail image of Caine, Michael (1933-)Caine, Michael (1933-)


Thumbnail image of Russell, Willy (1947-)Russell, Willy (1947-)

Writer, Composer