Each year on 21 May, the United Nations recognises the international day of Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.
The right to express cultural identity is key to modern day citizenship. It allows us to recognise what we have in common and understand what makes us different.
According to the UN declaration, cultural diversity “widens the range of options open to everyone”. It is one of the “roots of development” and enchances our “intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual existence.”
So what does this mean in terms of the UK curriculum? We are talking about the “C” in SMSC – the cultural development of your pupils. Our teaching must support children to value cultural, religious, ethnic and socio-economic differences. It should also help them to recognise how these are expressed through art and enshrined in democracy.
The Young Citizens lesson plans below offer a perfect starting point to introduce cultural diversity into your classroom. All of them are free to download with our Primary Resources subscription.
Cultural Diversity in the UK
The UK is one of the most diverse countries in the world. There are 300 different languages are spoken in UK schools, representing 18 distinct ethnic groups. In this lesson pupils will learn about some of the historical factors that have contributed to the diversity of the UK population, exploring a range of cultures through activities and personal research.
Without mass movement of people, there would be very little cultural diversity anywhere in the world. In this lesson pupils will gain an understanding of the term ‘migration’ and discover why people migrate from real first-hand accounts.
I am Unique
Before pupils recognise other people’s differences, they must first understand that they are one-of-a-kind. In this session, they will consider why they should value their differences and be given the opportunity to express themselves through unique pieces of art and poetry.
Getting to Know You
This lesson is ideal for use at the start of a new school year. Like I am Unique, it provides a space for your class to compare their identities, realise what makes them special and establish strong relationships amongst peers.
People Who Are Special To Me
In this lesson pupils will think about special people in their lives such as family, friends and carers. They will be encouraged to recognise and respect the diversity found in different families or support networks and appreciate that all special people are characterised by their loving and caring qualities.
If we are to promote cultural diversity, we must smash all forms of stereotypes. Using real examples of advertising campaigns, pupils will explore how different identities are (mis)represented in the media.