Schools and Society

Elementary Topic: Multiculturalism

Instructional Objective:  Students will identify their respective cultures, become conversant with different classmates’ cultures and be tested on their understanding of the impact of multiculturalism in the society as a whole.

Grade Level:  8th Grade


Teacher: the world we live in comprises of different cultures marked by gender, social classes and race. Appreciating, promoting, respecting and accepting this diverse culture is known as multiculturalism. (The teacher explains the meaning of multiculturalism to students with the help of a picture presenting three kids from different cultures. This task is aimed at creating a consensus, reinforcing cultural respect and foster cultural pluralism in the class room environment. Additionally, it fosters constructive racial idiosyncrasies in the classroom environment for students to embrace diversity) (Martin, nd).

Student 1: From the picture, there is an African American girl, a Hispanic boy and another boy from European origin. (The teacher must create a learning atmosphere which upholds positive interracial interaction. The teacher should give positive clarifications.

Teacher: after the lesson, I expect diminished prejudice, stereotypes, bigotry and racism among the students. This is because diminished racial tension, enhanced retention of the racial minority results to overall increase in students’ performance. The following steps help you to become critical thinkers regarding matters of prejudice and discrimination. (Students are then allowed to ask questions as the teacher respond to them with regard to their age, curiosity and personality as he models their attitudes and behaviors using multimedia learning materials that incorporate sound, graphics, video, text among others).

Student 2:  I am Paul, and according to my parents, my name means Small. I am African American and my nickname is Cameron, the African country where my mom comes from. I represent the fourth generation of my ethnic group in this nation. (The teacher can start by asking every student to introduce themselves and identify each other by names or cultural group. This activity is meant to enhance mutual respect and appreciate diversity and things that they have in common. Consequently, the student will try to figure out the origin of their name and its meaning. They should also give their nicknames, ethnic origin and the places that their parents are born and the generation they are in. the teacher requires each student to point out two people in the class room they know and the answers to be expected from them. This activity is sensitive and students should be advised to disclose only what they are at ease with. This activity will help the students to cultivate intercultural respect as well as understanding. They will become aware that even those with similar identity groups could vary backgrounds and those from different groups could have similar backgrounds).

Teacher: Every student should say ‘Hello’ in as many different languages as one can.

Students: Hello! (English), Ahlala (Cameroon), Habari/Jambo (Swahili), Born Dia (Portuguese), salaam aleikum (Arabic), Bonjour (French). (The teacher will identify each student in the classroom and require them to say he word in as many languages as he or she can).

Teacher:  identify two experiences where you have with different cultures. Write short stories about this, be creative, comic. This activity will help to bring out the aspects of cultural uniqueness and diversity. It also enhances active introspection and self-reflection.

Student 3:   I am Patel. I want to share my cultural dimension with you. I am Indian but i have been brought up in the U.S. I love going to our weddings since it is one occasion that reflects our culture in every aspect. There are various dances, decorations and different types of food and drinks such as chai that is well prepared. (After this activity, each student will be conversant with different cultures and what they entail). (The teacher demonstrates an Indian bridal Sari (Fashion World, 2010) and puts on some Indian traditional wedding music (DSouza, 2010)).

Teacher: Activity 1: I will conduct a cross-cultural IQ test in good funniness that will eventually help you to recognize that IQ is defined and bound by culture. Activity 2: requires the students to identify a game from another culture and explain it while teaching one another to play. This will emphasize on the importance of cultural contact and diversity.  Activity 3: students are required to watch the 17.33 minutes video dubbed’ Multiculturalism Documentary’ (Wayneren, 2008).  After watching the video, the students will appreciate the importance of diversity and its effects in the society.  Watching video is exciting and stimulates the student’s interests and at the same time elicits their emotional response, which is a strong motivational incentive. Activity 4: requires the students to read a story from the book “Voices of the other: children’s literature and the postcolonial context” by Roderick McGillis titled “A Giant Named Azalea and Why Me?” (McGillis, 2000 p.171). Following the activity, students will be in a position to convey their feelings and views regarding the topic. The teacher will there respond to their questions and views to help them to appreciate their individual roles to facilitate cultural diversity and positive cultural contact.

This script concludes by conducting a multicultural awareness quiz, to test the students on the meaning of the term multiculturalism, its relevance in the society and aspects of gender, socio-economic status and race. Consequently, the teacher recaps on the aspects of cultural dimensions discussed in class. He expounds further on importance of avoiding prejudice and bias since it’s neither beneficial neither to the perpetrator nor to the victim, but rather, it impedes societal development. Students are then advised to continue carrying out self-reflection and identify a clear dimension of their identity. From this, they will be conversant with concepts of inclusion and exclusion and how the experiences have shaped their learning process and academic performance. To sum it all, students will eventually be in a position to identify their respective cultures, become conversant with different cultures present in class and explain the impact of multiculturalism in the society as a whole after the learning activities conducted in class.

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