TV Dads: Immature and Irresponsible? - Lesson Lesson Plan

Level(s): Grade 6 to 8

Author: MediaSmarts


In this lesson, students explore the nature of stereotypes by looking at the negative image of the TV dad as presented in situation comedies (sitcoms) and advertisements. Students start with an opportunity to share their prior knowledge through a two-part “word splash” on the topic of TV fathers. Then they apply their knowledge to a guided classroom discussion on gender stereotypes, and review a backgrounder on TV dads. Next,students look at an ad that attracted complaints from fatherhood rights interest groups. Finally, working in groups, students share their scenarios from their word splash and choose one to perform int he suggested activity called From Sitcom to Sit-Real. There is an optional follow-up activity in which students track TV portrayals of fathers through a TV Dads Log. Teachers may wish to exercise caution and show sensitivity in the discussions of gender portrayal and representation of fathers in the media, depending on students’ family dynamics.

Learning Outcomes

  • an understanding of what a gender stereotype is
  • an awareness that stereotypes exist in the portrayal of dads in TV sitcoms and ads
  • an awareness of how young people may be influenced by gender messages
  • an understanding that ads and sitcoms do not necessarily represent reality
  • an understanding that, as informed and empowered people, they can use their own skills and tools to bring about positive change

This lesson and all associated documents (handouts, overheads, backgrounders) are available in an easy-print, pdf kit version.