EastEnders E20

Aspirations Part 2 - Literacy

Short clip of the story

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EastEnders E20 thematic content for teachers - Aspirations Part 2

Use specially cut thematic clips from the third series of EastEnders E20 to enable students to use the situations of fictional characters Ava, Donnie and Faith to learn about: Aspirations, Bullying, Sex and Relationships and Stereotypes.

These extracts from EastEnders E20 enable students to explore the impact of literacy problems on self-esteem, behaviour and aspirations. It is recommended that this material is used after the EastEnders E20 theme Stereotypes, so that students can apply and consolidate learning as they plan ways to challenge prejudice.

Please also see EastEnders E20 - Aspirations Part 1 for more aspiration content.

Lesson objectives

By the end of the lesson, ALL students will learn: that literacy problems affect self-esteem and limit aspirations; and that prejudice against people with reading problems should be challenged

By the end of the lesson, MOST students should learn: how literacy problems affect self-esteem and limit aspirations; and some ways of challenging prejudice against people with reading problems

By the end of the lesson, SOME students could learn: Ways in which literacy problems affect self-esteem and behaviour and limit aspirations. They take action to challenge stereotypes and challenging prejudice against people with reading problems

Activities for the lesson

Equipment required: Internet connection, Computer, Projector / Whiteboard, Printed handouts


Whole class

If there are students in the class with learning difficulties that involve serious literacy problems consider their needs before using this section. Discuss the activities with them and perhaps give them the opportunity to pre-view the video clips.

Activities 6 and 7 have close links with the Stereotypes theme. Some of the activities included in the Stereotypes theme could be helpful to extend learning about prejudice against people with literacy problems.


Whole class

Watch the video and you can also watch Donnie's monologue 'Word' to give more details about how he feels. You could also give the students Handout 6 - Word (transcript of Donnie's monologue).

Discuss with the students how they think Donnie feels. As a class, reflect on how many times a day we use our reading skills. Think about the problems we would experience if we were unable to read. Explore the relationship between his feelings about himself, his literacy problem and his aspirations.



Students discuss how they think Donnie is feeling. They try to put themselves in one of the situations depicted (e.g. the incident at the garage with the break fluid).

In that situation:

  • How did Donnie feel?
  • What did he think?
  • What did he do?
  • What are all the ways in which reading problems affect Donnie?
  • What do they think is the relationship between Donnie's literacy problems and his behaviour?
  • How does his situation affect his aspirations?


Whole class


Refer to the Eastenders E20 theme Stereotypes, and what was learnt from this theme.

Discuss attitudes to people with literacy problems.

  • - Do people show prejudice towards them?
  • - Do they suffer from discrimination?



Students research ways of supporting Donnie and others with reading difficulties. They could find out about the services offered by the National Literacy Trust as well as any local services provided by schools and colleges.

They undertake group activities to challenge stereotypical views of people with literacy problems and counter prejudice either by:

  • devising a campaign (through posters, advertisements or cartoons) to promote adult literacy programmes - and/or counter prejudice towards illiteracy.
  • or
  • developing story boards or scripts to demonstrate ways to challenge negative attitudes towards those with literacy problems.

Handout 7 - Literacy and young people has some information and ideas to help. Handout 8 - Action plan may help them plan their action.

Students could also find out about sources of careers advice and guidance within the school.


Whole class

Display the results of group activities and involve the whole school community.

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Key skills and learning skills

  • Communication
  • Application of number
  • ICT
  • Problem solving
  • Working with others
  • Improving own performance
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Exploring meaning
  • Reflection
  • Research skills
  • Presentation skills

AFL strategies

  • Sharing learning objectives
  • Use of questioning
  • Effective feedback
  • Modelling
  • Pupil self assessment
  • Peer assessment
  • Ongoing assessment
  • Adjusting teaching/reviewing
  • Plenary

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