Treat me nice – Elvis Presley

imagesAlthough this song is dated and might sound sexist to some ears, there are plenty of countries where it wouldn’t sound as problematic so that’s not reason enough to shy away from using something controversial. Besides which it is a good conversation starter about sexism if the class is thus inclined. And, it’s Elvis so who can complain?

Elvis songs are often easy for students to listen to as The King had very clear diction and this song has a great rhythm. Aimed at pre-intermediate/intermediate.


  1. Print a copy for each student of Treat me nice pre listening and one of Treat me nice gap fill.
  2. You might want to pre-teach the adjective “sore” meaning in a bad mood.

What to do

  1. Give students a couple of minutes to brainstorm the qualities the perfect husband or wife or partner should have. Feedback onto the board.
  2. Write on the board “Treat me nice” and ask what behaviours this would include/ not include.
  3. Explain that they are going to listen to a song from the 1950s and that it might seem a bit dated.
  4. Handout the pre-listening worksheet and get students to discuss in pairs, explaining new vocabulary and putting it on the board so students can refer to it later when understanding the song.
  5. Handout the gap fill. Go through the words in bold at the bottom, explain any new words and then demonstrate that some of the words rhyme with others. Students work through the words, saying them aloud with their partner and looking for soundalike possibilities. Feedback but only confirm if words rhyme, not whether they go together in the song.
  6. Explain that in the gaps in the song “r1” has the same sound as the next “r1”. Allow time for students to read through song then play the song at least twice, possibly pausing after the first listen so students can compare notes.
  7. Feedback and hand out/open on a device the complete song and let students listen again if they want (usually they do)
  8. Discuss in small groups the following questions on the board
    • How dated or sexist does the song sound to modern ears?
    • Could you put up with a partner like this?
    • Is it romantic?
    • Are they requests or demands?
    • Which of them are acceptable to you?
    • What behaviours are important in a relationship?
    • What would you put on your list?

Optional homework

Get students to write a verse of the song, beginning, “When I walk through that door, baby……………………” It can be serious or not, and doesn’t have to rhyme.



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